If you don’t know what the target is, how can you expect to hit it?
It is a fact that, for almost all of us, when making key decisions in our lives; buying a car, choosing where to live, getting married, even going on holiday, we create a plan or strategy to ensure we achieve a successful outcome. How it will be financed, who will be involved, where will it be and when will it happen are essential questions that we will consider before proceeding. And yet, when it comes to setting up a business, only 30% of entrepreneurs will undertake any kind of formal planning process before committing everything to their new ventures.
But, in fact, the greatest hurdle of all is not starting up but staying on. Starting a business is easy and, for some entrepreneurs, it is the natural progression from using their talents as an employee to “branching out on your own”. With a saleable product or service and some good contacts a business can establish itself and provide its owner with some income without too much complexity. However, growth will plateau at a certain level without an active strategy in place.
Strategy, Goals and Objectives
Strategic Planning, by definition, is an organisational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organisation’s priorities.
Sustained long term growth requires strategic planning and once a young business has established itself, if it is to build on its initial flourish, vision, analysis and understanding of its growth path will be essential. However, when you have got your business off the ground by yourself, it can be difficult to accept that you will reach a point where you need help from others. No entrepreneur is an island and the wise understand it is essential to have expert advisers, with plenty of experience, on board to fill the gaps in their experience and knowledge. The “Dragons Den” scenario is a good example where, often, the entrepreneur is just as concerned about getting the right dragon on board for their wealth of experience as winning the financial investment they require.
Without a coherent strategy, your business will not have identifiable objectives. It will lack the focus needed to understand what it, and you, are looking to achieve and the path that must be taken to move the business forward in a confident and structured way. A lack of objectives means that your company does not have a clear vision for the future. If you don’t know the goals and objectives you’re reaching for, how do you know when you’ve accomplished them? Objectives are used to develop long-term growth and productivity plans that are essential for the sustained success of your organisation.
Guest post contributed by Jerry Irving of Thameside Enterprise