In the early days of starting your business, you do it all. You are resourceful, learn, explore new alternatives, grow as an individual and as a business. You focus on production, marketing, IT, sales, HR. You are the one and only person working both on your business and in it.
As you grow your business, you need to steer towards working on your business more than in your business. You have the vested interest in growing your business, the knowledge and experience to do so. Spending your valuable time on working in the business (when you can hire qualified staff to do those processes) will take your energy away from actually growing your business and focusing on taking it to the next level.
Do you have a clear vision of where the business is going to be next month, in a year and beyond?
Despite the common excuses pointing towards life being unpredictable, I'd like you to take control and take charge of your business. Plan for how your life and your business is going to turn out and then work on getting there.
Here are some key tools to help you WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS:
TOOL 1: Marketing and Strategy Plan
The Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire is a template I developed based on a concept of 7Ps Model*. Answering all questions in the Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire helps your business map out the Marketing and Strategy Plan for your enterprise.
Outline the 7Ps of your business focusing on it "as it stands today" and "as you'd like to see it in 1 year". Focus on every detail within each P (product, price, promotion, people, process, place, physical evidence).
As I know you'd find it useful in your business, I am sharing a free copy of the Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire with you at the end of this article.
The Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire helps you work on your business and have the right actions in place to achieve your goals. Once the template is completed and all questions are answered (in a specific, measurable way), my clients use it to:
1. Create an action map to develop all actions required to accomplish all outlined strategies.
2. Create/update their Business Plan.
3. Measure growth in a specific way as it ties to actions in point 1.
4. Know where their business is headed in the future.
TOOL 2: Process Map
If you were to leave your business today, would it survive and thrive? If your answer is no, it's time to do something about it.
Having your business ready to be sold tomorrow not only gives you more flexibility, but also increases the value of your business.
1. Outline all key activities and processes in your organization (flow charts work well) for all activities that directly and indirectly affect your final product/service.
2. Outline key internal and external stakeholders including their alternatives. Internal stakeholders would include any employees that are key subject matter experts in the work they do for your organization. External stakeholders would include investors, financial institutions, suppliers, freight carriers, distribution network partners etc.
3. Plan for your exit and clearly identify your exit strategy. As a business owner, you'll look at your business differently if you are planning with an exit in mind looking ahead 5, 10, 15 years. There's still plenty of room to have your heart in the business on a daily basis, but with a clear exit strategy in mind, you'll run your business more effectively, focusing on profitability and longevity to create an an effective stand alone enterprise.
For more information or to get a free copy of the Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire, please feel free to contact me. With no strings attached, I will email you a free copy of the Marketing and Strategy Questionnaire that is right for your business.
My goal is to see you grow and prosper. Now what's yours?
Yours in business,
Lenka Bolton, CMA, CPA
* The 7Ps model was originally devised by E. Jerome McCarthy and published in 1960 in his book Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach.