Spring has arrived, and now is the perfect time to review your business! It’s time to dust off the cobwebs from your business plan, clear out the redundant and concentrate on growing your business and fulfilling your vision.
By reviewing your business goals you can assess what you have achieved, what you are still striving towards and what needs to change. In this blog we are going to explore a few tools and methods you can use within your business to help fuel growth and expansion.
Do you have clear goals for yourself and your business?
In order for a business to be able to deliver a result for its owners and employees, goals must first be identified, articulated and understood. So the essential starting point is to ensure that there is complete clarity over exactly what it is you want to achieve in your business and in your life.
You should produce a clear articulation of your business and personal goals – for more information on goal setting have a read of our blog about setting SMART goals and changing your habits
It is essential to review your goals every quarter to assess what you’ve achieved. This is a good way to check your progress and review what you did to get there. It will provide a good opportunity to understand your business better and what you still need to do to reach your longer-term goals. Having a better understanding of your business will not only mean getting closer to your goals, but will also help you with the everyday running of your business.
Developing your plan?
Having identified or updated your goals, you must then transfer them to your business plan. This will describe the key elements of what your business is going to do over the next few years in pursuit of these goals.
You should include a set of forecasts and budgets, setting out exactly what you aim to earn, spend, invest and achieve. And the implications of it all, your cashflow must be carefully analysed to ensure that it can all be afforded and funded. You will want to work closely with your accountant when developing your plan or seek alternative expert advice. You can find detailed information on how you can build a great business plan here.
How can you find out if you are improving?
Once budgets and forecasts have been created, you need to systematically measure your actual performance, and compare it to your targets.
Traditionally this takes the form of detailed management accounts – i.e. monthly profit and loss accounts, balance sheet and cash flow. But most businesses recognise that traditional management accounts do not give them enough information to really drive their businesses forward –one reason for this is that they are using historical information. So most successful businesses also measure other Key Success Drivers (also known as Key Performance Indicators or ‘KPIs’), so that they can really understand what is happening while there is still time to do something about it.
So, to be more successful at achieving your goals, you should systematically identify and measure KPI’s for every key area of your business.
A useful tool to use to see how you are performing, often dubbed as ‘the ultimate performance management tool’, is our One Page Plan. The idea behind our One Page Plan is to give you a regular monthly snapshot of your business, so you can monitor your successes and take action when you might be under-performing. It will allow you to:
- Identify the key success drivers in your business,
- Set monthly targets for everything that matters,
- Develop and implement an action plan.
- Share your success
To find out more about our One Page Plan visit our business growth page here.
How do you compare to your competitors?
It is good practice to benchmark your performance against others in your industry to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It is always relative, for example: how ‘good’ is a profit of £100,000? It could be really good for a business with a target of £20,000. But it would be bad for a business that achieved £500,000 last year. And it would be appalling for a business where everyone else in its industry achieved £5 million.
In other words, you can only really judge performance by comparing it to:
- Previous months and years, and
- Others in your industry
Your management accounts and OnePage™ planshould, of course, compare your monthly performance to your targets and the previous 12 months. With the addition of a benchmarking analysis it will show you how you compare against the others in your industry and give you a better and clearer understanding of your business and areas you can improve.
Never fall into the trap of pre-judging what may or may not be possible. Instead of guessing… look at the evidence, think creatively, and use an open mind to look for a better way.
Hallidays are here to help; we can offer a fantastic business growth service to see where you are currently, where you want to get to and most importantly how you are going to get there. For more information about our business growth services click here.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Henry David Thoreau
Posted 28th April 2015