Planning the future of your business can be scary. Looking ahead into the unknown and trying to guess what could happen is daunting, to say the least. Nevertheless, you still need to plan ahead, navigate the uncertainty, mitigate your risk and take informed decisions. Your business should grow into something that you love and enjoy. In doing this, however, you must make sure that it is sustainable and profitable into the future.
Assess your current business model for relevance in your market.
It’s important to understand your market, customers, competitors and product or service.
- Understand your market: What are the needs of your customers?
- Understand your customers: Who is your target customer? How can you reach them?
The key here is to think about how you communicate with them, who is leading that conversation and what it looks like as a whole. You also have to look at the products or services offered by companies in similar industries as yours. How do they compare against each other. For example, if there are three companies offering a similar product but one has more positive reviews than another, then this might mean that company provides better service than its competitors (or vice versa).
Investigate how to optimise your current revenue model.
Your current revenue model may be generating a lot of money, but it could also be limiting your potential. For example, you might have invested heavily in building up an online platform that gets lots of traffic and provides plenty of opportunities for people to buy your product or service. But if they don’t buy anything from you, then all those visitors are just wasting their time on the site. You need to look at whether this is really the best way forward financially and strategically.
This exercise requires some research into what other companies are doing with their revenue models and how these compare with yours. You’ll want to find out whether there are any new trends emerging; for example, if digital advertising is becoming more popular than traditional advertising as a way for companies to make money from their websites (and it probably will).
Plan for the markets you need to be in or want to be in 12 months from now.
When thinking about the future of your business, it’s important to consider the markets you are currently in and the markets you want to be in.
- What products or services does your business provide? What is its main focus? Are you trying to break into a new industry, or expand into an existing one? Think about what makes up this market and how big it is. Make a list of all of these things, so that they’re easy to see at a glance in case they come up later.
- Now look at markets that aren’t currently being served by your company or any other companies like yours. These include:
- markets where there are no customers who want what we offer (e.g., if I sell mugs but nobody needs new ones)
- markets where there are some customers but not enough for us (e.g., if I sell mugs but only have three orders per month)
- markets where there are many customers but not enough for us right now (e.g., if people don’t buy mugs because they’re too expensive)
Plan the products or services you’ll need to grow profits and maintain relevance in the next few years.
Identifying the products and services you’ll need to grow profits and maintain relevance in the next few years is a big part of planning for your future business. Ask yourself:
- What are the gaps in my current offering?
- What are the gaps in my customers’ needs?
- How can I fill those gaps?
- Develop a plan for how you will fill these gaps. Be sure to consider what skills will be needed and how you will source them.
Identify skills needed within your business, and identify how you will source these skills.
If you’re running a small business, chances are that you’ll need to hire staff or delegate work to others. It’s always helpful to have a clear idea of what skills are required for each role—and how those can be sourced. In other words: how do you find the right people?
When sourcing new talent, keep in mind that there are many ways of approaching this task. You might choose one method over another based on your budget or location (e.g., hiring locally versus using an online platform). Find someone who is excited about the prospect of working with your company and getting involved with its growth strategy; they should also have experience relevant to the role they’re applying for. For example: Are they able to communicate clearly? Do they have a good track record with customers? Can they work under pressure? These qualities will help ensure that whoever fills their position will thrive in it—and therefore serve as an asset for both parties involved (the employer and employee). If possible, try having them complete an assessment test before making any final decisions about whether or not someone is worth hiring at all costs.
Determine your profitability needs over the next three years and refine where necessary.
Before you can determine how to achieve your goals, you need to have a clear idea of what they are.
This is where profitability comes in. Profitability is the measure of how much money your business makes. More specifically, it measures how much money you make after all expenses (including taxes) have been accounted for. Your profitability needs should be aligned with both your personal risk tolerance (i.e., how much risk are YOU willing/able/comfortable taking on?) and cash flow needs
Growth can be scary so take some time to understand your needs, strengths and weaknesses before making any decisions.
The next step is to consider what you need to be successful and the best way to start is by taking an honest look at your marketing strategy and goals.
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How can you improve upon the current state of your business?
You may want to ask others for help in assessing these areas, or even re-consider who should be involved in making decisions that move your company forward.
So we’ve looked at some key aspects in the future of your business and how to plan for it. You’ve assessed your current business model for relevance in your market, investigated how to optimise your current revenue model and planned for markets you need to be in or want to be in 12 months from now. You’ve also identified skills needed within your business, as well as identified how you will source these skills. Finally, you’ve determined profitability needs over the next three years and refined where necessary. Should you be interested to discuss the future of your business with CMG Consulta, please get in touch.