If you’re taking this new year and the new decade, yes that’s right, the new decade as a sign to turn that idea you’ve had into a reality, then there are some things you need to think about before you go jumping into things.
We’re going to highlight some of the tasks you’ll need to ensure that you’re fully informed when it comes to starting your own business, and you can even refer back to this over and over to ensure that your business is always evolving.
A Business plan
First of all, you’ll want to begin drafting a business plan. This is the foundation of your business and you really need to understand the importance of a business plan in order to be as successful as possible.
Set out some goals that you wish to reach perhaps sale milestones or smaller goals like getting your branding done, but make sure that whatever goals you set, that you apply a deadline to each, whether that be weeks, months or days. With each goal, you’ll need to set out specific tasks in order to reach the goal. Think of them like mini-goals, each helping to keep you in the direction of achieving a larger goal.
A business plan isn’t just about setting goals or milestones for yourself, but also your business and any employees you have. Business goals might include turnover or number of customers by a certain date, whereas employee goals might be having them hit certain KPIs within the financial year, for example.
This also goes for if you already have a business plan, it needs to be refreshed every year or so. Your goals will always need to be amended or updated to reflect where you’re business is at.
Which brings us onto our next point – competitor research. This is such an important part of setting yourself up for success as it allows you to better understand the marketplace you’re competing in.
You need to understand who your direct competitors are and your indirect competitors and find out what they’re better at than you. For instance, do they undercut you on pricing for the exact same product or are they offering other products that you don’t?
You’ll also need to know if your competitors only compete online or if they have physical store locations too. All of this information will help you to create a strategy for your business from your pricing model to the items you sell. It will also help you determine what makes you different from your competitors – what will make someone buy a product from you rather than another business?
Once you’ve created a business plan and done your competitor research you’ll need to stick to the plan you created. Whether that be the number of times a week you post on social media, or how often you change your promotions – consistency is key in business.
This extends to every part of your business as well as elements like branding, tone of voice, messaging etc. Your customers will notice things like inconsistencies far quicker as they’re used to seeing slick branding from big companies and some of which you will be competing against. Being consistent not only helps you to achieve your goal we mentioned earlier but also helps with building your brand reputation.
Track your progress
Once you’ve been working through your business plan for a few months, you should look to track your progress every quarter or every 6 months to make sure that you’re on track. This is why we said to apply a deadline to each of your goals, and that way they’re measurable as well as actionable.
It will also help you to see what goals you’ve met, how long it took you to meet them and if you’ve missed any deadlines for any of your goals. You’ll also be able to see the reasons why you missed your goals. Make sure to note them down as and when they occur and there are many reasons for this such as external factors you can’t influence, as well as lack of time which many business owners face.
Review and reflect
Once you’ve tracked your progress you can then review and reflect upon any progress made when it comes to adjusting your business plan. When it comes to goals you didn’t meet, what went wrong? How can this be avoided in the future? This helps you to gain knowledge from your previous learning and to make processes better in the future.
For goals that were met, what went right? How were they achieved? Is there any way they can be met faster next time (if necessary)? This time of reflection is important for the growth of every business and you should carve out time in your calendar to ensure it’s done.
And all of these steps are working toward a methodology we have here at EKM – continuous evolution. Not only is evolution a service we offer with our Evolution Mode but it’s built within our core values. We believe that this is something you should always strive to do within your business in every aspect you can – continue evolving, your business and your website.