What not to do when planning your business strategy…
You might be a business owner with years of experience planning business strategies, or a young entrepreneur completely new to the business world.
Either way, as well as learning about what every business strategy should include, it is useful to know what you should avoid doing when strategising…
What better way to learn than from other people’s mistakes? It seems morbid but it’s true.
You might even find that you have already made some of these mistakes yourself in a previous business strategy – but onwards and upwards! Knowledge is power.
1. Not updating your business strategy
The first common mistake made in business strategy is getting too comfortable. When a business has a successful year, it is tempting to just keep the same strategy, with the hopes that it will bring you the same results.
In actual fact though, you are limiting yourself and your business’s opportunity for success by doing so. Every market is constantly evolving and changing, with new trends coming and going – so your business strategy absolutely must reflect these fluctuations.
Each year will present new challenges but also new opportunities so you should update your business strategy accordingly. Any business that fails to do this, risks falling behind on market trends and missing out on valuable sales.
Part of being successful in business is never allowing yourself to feel comfortable – there is always room to push yourself and your employees. For instance, while forming a business strategy, you might consider setting yourself the target of developing international sales of your products/services. This could mean extending your shipping to another country in Europe or you could decide you want to go even further – the opportunity is there.
Trading overseas isn’t actually all that daunting either, there are tools out there to help you through the process. ManSys specialise in providing a global trade management software, which supports businesses through all aspects of international trade. You can use their software to manage anything from your inventory and shipping, all the way down to producing the correct documentation.
Incorporating software and the tools like SharePoint lists that you will use into your business strategy is a great way to make your targets and KPIs more realistic and achievable.
The next rookie error commonly made in business strategy is making it more complicated than it needs to be. Yes, it is necessary to plan for potential eventualities but there is also only so much you can control and predict.
You should make sure to use simple and clear language in your strategy, so it’s easily accessible at a later date. It should have some main aims that all members of staff can understand and work towards. Ideally, aim to condense your strategy to be one page so it can be quickly read over by you or an employee for a memory refresh.
Don’t include too many numbers, although of course, some will be necessary. It is a good idea to set your finances out for the year, but if you are too specific you are essentially setting yourself up for failure. This is a bad idea in the sense that your targets will not be met but it may also damage employee morale and motivation – not good.
3. Not defining your target market
This is a big one, but surprisingly one that many businesses forget, or don’t prioritise. You should try to predict the specific needs of your target market and ideal customer profile as much as you can. This is tricky as no one really knows what a year is going to bring but if you fail to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, you could miss out on sales opportunities.
This involves segmenting your target market and deciding which type of people you want to put most of your marketing efforts towards. By creating a typical customer profile, you can figure out the type of person with the needs that match what your business has to offer. If you fail to do this and instead have a broad marketing strategy, your sales will most likely suffer. It is better to focus on prospects that will be interested in your service rather than promoting your business to every man and his dog!
4. Not asking for input
The fourth common business strategy mistake is not getting others involved with the process. Your employees likely know as much, if not more, about the market than you do, so getting their viewpoints is highly valuable.
You don’t have to include every suggestion made, but if everyone has their say you can figure out what seems to be most prominent. Another bonus of this is your employees will feel a lot more valued in the company if their views are taken on board. Happy employees = increased success.
5. Not setting achievable targets/not integrating targets with daily tasks
The last but not least common business mistake is to get carried away and let your ambitions get the better of you. Whilst it’s great to have dreams, your business strategy is the place for realistic and achievable goals. It is therefore important to integrate your targets for the months or year to come with the daily tasks of the business. That way, you and your employees can see exactly what is being done to work towards the goals and you will feel far more motivated.