It’s all too easy for small to medium businesses to get bogged down into the operational side of their business. So often I see businesses putting off, or completely neglecting the essential aspect to every business – strategy development. Or even worse, allocating time and money without properly assessing their strategies.
If you are always solely focused on operational aspects of the business, there is no possibility of growth. It’s so important that time is set aside on a regular basis to focus on what’s working, what’s not, and how you can grow your business. The smartest business owners I work with create time in their diaries every week, just to think. Doing so is the foundation in which all kinds of new ideas come to light to grow their business.
- Without a well-defined strategy, small to medium businesses tend to invest time and money into the wrong places, often adopting a ‘me too’ approach which simply put, doesn’t serve their business. Here’s a handy checklist to assess if you are really putting your resources to the best use for the unique nature of your business;
- Are you following trends because you think you need to? If your marketing efforts are not generating new or repeat business, you really need to re-assess the underlying strategy. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the latest trend. Everyday businesses are setting up Facebook pages, writing articles to post on LinkedIn or spending big dollars on a flash new website that seems to do everything from tracking visitors to making your coffee.
All this effort is wasted if your target audience is not following you on social media or only ever looking at the home page on your website. Business owners need to really understand the mindset of their clients, to figure out what is most relevant to them, where are they searching for your products and services and how relevant is your messaging to them. It’s vital to get the strategy right for your business before throwing money at the latest trend, just because everyone else is.
- Are you spreading your resources too thin? I see a lot of businesses adopting the machine gun approach; trying everything at the same time and hoping for the best – this is sure fire way to go out of business fast. Again, create time to identify the path your clients travel. How do they arrive at the point where they know they need your businesses help? Then you can identify points along that path where you will gain most value from providing them with information in a way that appeals to them.
- Are you focusing too heavily on results? It’s often common for businesses to spend $10 to raise $8 and do this for some time, hoping things will turn around. It’s really important to track and measure results to ensure your marketing efforts are actually working. Everything needs to be measured. If you are investing a fortune in online advertising but it’s not generating any business, you need to access the viability of it.
It’s vital to make time to not only develop new ideas to grow your business but to monitor and access your current strategies to ensure the ongoing vitality of your business.
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