WHY IT’S VITAL TO REVIEW THE PROGRESS OF YOUR BUSINESS
It’s easy to focus only on the day-to-day running of your business, especially in the early stages. But once you’re up and running, it can pay dividends to think about longer-term and more strategic planning. This is especially true as you take on more staff, create departments within the business, appoint managers or directors and become distanced from the everyday running of the business.
Reviewing your progress will be particularly useful if you feel:
- Uncertain about how well the business is performing
- Unsure if you’re getting the most out of the business or making the most of market opportunities
- Your business plan may be out of date, e.g. you haven’t updated it since you started trading
- Your business is moving in a direction different to the one you had planned
- The business may be becoming unwieldy or unresponsive to market demands
- It is also useful if you have decided that your company is ready to move on to another level.
Setting the direction
A clear business strategy will help to answer any concerns and show practical ways forward.
Questions you might want to ask include:
What’s my direction? To answer this you need to look at where you are now, where you want to go over the next three to five years and how you intend to get there.
What are my markets – now and in the future? Which markets should I compete in, how will they change and what does the business need in order to be involved in these sectors?
How do I gain market advantage? How can the business perform better than the competition in my chosen markets?
What resources do I require to succeed? What skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence and facilities do I need to compete? Have these changed since I started?
What business environment am I competing in? What external factors may affect the business’ ability to compete?
How am I measuring success? Remember, measures of performance may change as your business matures.
It’s doubtful whether you will be able to answer these questions on your own – involving your professional advisers, your fellow directors and your senior staff will all help to make your review more effective.