What does success look like to you!

When it comes to businesses between 50 – 75% of small to medium sized businesses fail within the first three years, an unfortunate statistic that could be reduced significantly if more business owners were to ask themselves one critical question – what does success look like for me?  And – take some steps in planning to achieve that.

While success in business means something different for each individual, identifying what your success looks like – whether it is achieving a set turnover, financial freedom or buying your dream home will play an important part when it comes to developing a business plan.

To obtain success you need to know exactly what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get there. Having a plan in place will help you avoid becoming part of these statistics because, quite simply, failing to plan, is planning to fail.

A business plan needs to encompass your goals – what you want to achieve in and from your business, how you plan to meet these goals and measurable steps to ensure you are achieving them. Be sure your business goals fit in with your personal goals as the two go hand in hand.

Having a business plan in place will help you:

·         Objectively analyse your strengths and weaknesses and how you plan to reduce weakness and build strengths. Likewise assess and plan around threats and weaknesses the business has

·         Pinpoint areas where you need to improve your performance

·         Identify opportunities in your businesses that you may have overlooked and how best to utilise those

·         Review your current products and services for any problems and how you can better utilise assets and/or abilities

·         Set weekly and monthly targets providing operating tools to help you compare current performance against the plan to regularly determine deviations

·         Commit your decisions to writing enabling ongoing referencing and critical examination

·         Have an essential aid in securing financial support from bankers, financiers, and other partners relative to your business operations

·         Analyse the management of risk, another key element. A process of future-proofing the business by exploring and assessing what would happen in a number of scenarios involving an         accident or even the death of the principal of the business and ensuring strategies are in place to mitigate these risks. You also need to ensure the plan is realistic and that the business is sustainable

Once you have identified what success looks like for you and put a business plan in place, ensure copies of the plan are provided to key professionals supporting your business such as your Solicitor, Banker and Chartered Accountant.  It has to become an integral part of your business systems and processes so that if one of the risks does occur there is a well thought out strategy to get you quickly back on track.

If the business is planning for a period of growth then a whole new range of management skills and controls are required.  If these are not planned with adequate financial controls put in place, then the growth will not occur.

Finally, make it a living working document, a reference point to compare where your business is at compared to where it planned to be.  If there are any deviations, investigate them immediately and take corrective action. Having a business coach to “bounce” business matters off and to help get your plan in place, complete a recipe for success.

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