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A Guide to Crafting a Winning Business Strategy

When was the last time you looked at your business strategy? You may be running your business quite successfully, but could you be doing better? Is it time for you to revise your business direction to suit the current market?

These are the questions any small to medium business owner may need to really rack their brain to answer. However, the answer could be the difference between achieving the lifestyle you desire or not.

A common rebuttal is ‘don’t break what ain’t broken’, and we completely understand that you have successfully been able to maintain your business without thinking of the big picture, but is that all you want from your business? To maintain the current status quo?

At Lift Accounting & Advisory, we encourage you to think bigger. We believe that limits are only set by ourselves, and through strategic planning and concrete steps, any business owner can take their business to where they want it to be.

It Is Never Too Late To Make Or Revise Your Business Strategy.

People become business owners in multiple ways. You may have started the business, inherited it from your family, or purchased it. Now that you are in the driver’s seat, do you know what direction you want to take the business?

The business may have an existing business plan crafted many years ago or none at all; it could have been made by someone else. No matter the reason or how much time has passed, it is never too late to revise or make a business strategy.

A robust business strategy acts as a roadmap for financial success. Despite past successes and learned lessons throughout the business journey, the future presents a continuous stream of new challenges and opportunities that can make even the most seasoned entrepreneur pause.

Referring to your strategic plan can refocus your efforts and guide your business through uncharted territories.

Let’s dive into why revising or developing your business strategy is not just necessary… it’s a game-changer!

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

The saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ stands true in business. Markets evolve, consumer behaviours shift, technologies advance, and regulations change. Continuously revisiting and revising your strategy ensures your business remains relevant and competitive in the face of the ever-evolving business landscape.

New opportunities may present themselves to you, such as new market segments to explore, a product line to develop, or a technological advancement that could revolutionise your operations.

Of course, knowing what opportunities to leverage is just as important as knowing which ones to steer clear of. As opportunities evolve, so do the risks. What was once a minor threat could now be a major challenge. Regular strategic reviews help you identify new risks and devise plans to mitigate them before they impact your business significantly.

A good strategy can focus your efforts to ensure you reach the purpose for which the business was created. It is easy to be waylaid during the daily grind. Undertaking promising opportunities can lead a business to a position you never intended. A plumber has the ability to set up construction plumbing, but is that a service you should be spending a lot of time on when you started the business to specialise in garden fountains and grey-water systems?

To ensure your business compass is directing you towards success, here’s our comprehensive guide to building a business strategy that helps navigate new challenges, make the most of new opportunities, and propels you towards new heights of success.

How Do You Build a Business Strategy?

Our approach to building a strong business strategy is centred on understanding your business inside out and crafting strategies that are as dynamic and forward-thinking as the markets in which you operate.

Use the following steps to refine your intentions and put them into actionable steps that will guide your business to success.

1. Define Your Vision and Mission

This may not have changed from when the business originated, but the heart is always a good place to start. Sometimes, the daily grind gets in the way, and the vision doesn’t stay on the priority list.

According to Forbes, the Vision is the What, Where, or Who you want the company to become. The Mission is the WHY the company exists – your purpose, passion, or cause. Think of your vision as your destination. Your mission is the steps you take to get there.

Start by asking what you want your business to stand for. What would you like to be known for? What does success look like for your business?

Alternatively, you could start by describing the problem you are solving for your customers and how. A good strategy defines your business and helps you grow.

Tesla’s vision statement is — To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.

2. Dive Deep into Market Research

Knowledge is power. Do not underestimate how impactful a little insight could be, like who are your ideal customers? Understanding your target market’s needs, preferences, and behaviours will enable you to tailor your offerings to win their patronage.

Not only is this essential for knowing there is a demand for what you supply, but it also helps identify new market trends and potential areas for expansion or diversification.

Knowing how the public is fairing in specific fields and what your competition is doing can illuminate gaps for you to monetise. Sound too technical? Even sole traders who start a business, because they have skills they are good at, can adapt those skills to meet the public’s needs. A concreter can do house slabs or make garden steps. These are the nuances in the market that you must investigate.

You can find this information by reading industry publications and keeping abreast of current news. Alternatively, you can gather information yourself by getting customer feedback and employee input.

This stage is also where you can investigate more efficient technology or innovations in your industry. In an era where technology constantly evolves, staying abreast of technological advancements can provide you with a competitive edge, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experiences.

3. Analyse Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

You have deep-dived into market research, so you have an understanding of your external circumstances, now it is time to look inwards. It entails a systematic approach to assessing your business objectively.

A thorough and objective analysis of your business helps you understand your competitive advantage. This understanding is crucial in crafting a strategy that leverages your strengths, mitigates your weaknesses, tackles threats, and seizes opportunities.

It may be easy to say you have a unique idea and a strong team, but these are vague points that won’t necessarily be consistent in driving your business to success. Instead of making an analysis that is full of fluff, be specific in your observations and be critical of even your most proud aspects. What differentiates your offerings from competitors? Why should customers choose you?

This step is more than looking at the transactional give-and-take between you and your market. It allows you to reflect on how to foster lasting relationships. How can you delight customers? How can you form good supplier partnerships? What is being done for employee satisfaction?

This deep understanding of your internal structures and what can impact them informs future strategic actions. There are multiple frameworks that allow you to break down your business into sections, from the traditional SWOT analysis to the more robust Balanced Scorecard.

4. Establish Good Business Goals

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals ensure that your strategy is focused and actionable. These goals should align with your vision and mission, driving your business forward with purpose and precision.

If you are a signage designer with a passion for the ocean, you could offer boat signage application services with environmentally friendly wraps. Your vision may be – To make marine environment care an industry norm, one boat wrap at a time.

The overarching strategy is to protect the environment with the skills you have. The goals outlined to accomplish this vision would be securing a supplier of non-toxic adhesive and material that will not release any particles into the water. Another goal could be to receive a referral from every customer you service until all the boats in your local harbour have environmentally friendly wraps. To achieve that, you must first satisfy the customers you serve so they talk about you to others.

Long-term goals could be to have enough work you need to train someone, to expand your geographical influence, or to have another environmentally focused boat wrap business as competition.

Note that your goal framework will have specific terms, but the exercise is the same. Take your strategy and break it into tactics that bring actions to the intentions. To learn more about business goal-setting methods, read our previous blog.

5. Putting It Into Action

A strategy is only as good as its execution. You have broken down your strategic plan into actionable steps, now it is time to assign responsibilities and set deadlines. Regular team meetings can ensure everyone is aligned and accountable.

A business strategy is not a set and forget tool though. If certain aspects of your strategy do not achieve the desired business outcomes or market conditions change, be open to pivoting your strategies accordingly. Regularly review your performance against your set goals, and be prepared to adjust to internal changes or external market shifts.

Have you been able to delight your customers? Have you formed strong partnerships with suppliers? Are your employees engaged and satisfied? If not, dive back into that market research or the internal reflection on how your business can do better.

It could also be how your goals have been framed. Is there a step that would support the achievement more effectively? Is it possible to streamline the process to make it more efficient?

Why It’s Never Too Late to Develop or Revise Your Business Strategy

Maintaining a successful business strategy is an ongoing learning, adapting, and evolving process.

At Lift Accounting & Advisory, we’re more than accountants and advisors; we’re your strategic partners in business growth and success. We aim to provide value that uplifts your life through a holistic approach and keep encouraging you to reach for higher.

Whether you’re just starting or looking to elevate your existing business, our team is here to guide you through creating and implementing a strategy that works for you.

If you would like to learn more about how to boost your business success, contact us at
office@liftaccounting.au or call (02) 4344 2460.

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