Business Growth 101: Devote Time to Strategic Planning
Every contractor and business owner wants to grow their business. Whether it is opening a second location, purchasing new equipment, or simply making that all-important first hire, as entrepreneurs we are always thinking about taking that next step.
However, too many business owners never achieve the growth that they desire. And it’s not because they don’t have the ability or the resources, in most cases. It’s because they don’t devote the necessary time to planning for the future of their business.
Now hold on—I know what you are thinking. For many business owners, the phrase “strategic planning” conjures up unpleasant images—50 page business plans, unproductive meetings, and other exercises that often amount to wasted time. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. While in-depth business plan can be helpful, the reality is that creating such a plan is rarely a good usage of a small business owner’s time. In fact, if you take the time to address these three critical questions, you’ll be well on your way to success.
1) What is your “people plan”? In other words, how will you continue to attract and retain talented employees? Unless you plan on remaining a one-man shop (which is rarely a good idea), the fate of your business will depend largely on the talent of the employees you bring in, and on your ability to train them. What will you do to attract quality people? How will you train them to ensure that they meet your standards for productivity and efficiency? How will you keep them engaged and happy, so that they don’t leave for a more appealing opportunity?
2) What systems are you creating to ensure that your business is sustainable? One of the biggest challenges for contractors and small businesses is managing growth. When your business is small, you as the owner maintain a great deal of control. You can personally ensure that every job is done right and that your clients are satisfied. But as business grows, you lose this control. It’s important to create systems for every aspect of your operation—and it’s equally important that you document these systems and train each employee to execute them properly.
3) What is your marketing plan? Remember, marketing doesn’t have to mean a flashy advertising campaign or a brand new website. Marketing can simply mean networking and building relationships. The big question to answer is “how will I attract more business?” Whether the answer is word-of-mouth referrals, internet marketing, a billboard, or something else entirely, the important thing is that you have a plan. Start by identifying your target market, and then begin determining the most effective and cost-efficient channels by which you can reach them.
In order to grow your business, it is important that you take the time to plan for the future. These three areas will provide a solid foundation—contact me today if you’d like to learn more!