This article by Johanna Baker-Dowdell has been published on Mum Zone. Have a look at: http://www.mumzone.com.au/business_careers_sustaining_success.php
As a business person you might think there would be no business if you weren’t around, but this is not always the case. It pays to put some time into thinking about the type of business you want and plan for the end at the beginning. Start by thinking about why you established the business and what your goals are, preferably before the business is launched. You might be on maternity leave and want to see if you can combine working from home with looking after your child. Or, you might have been made redundant and have found there is a gap in the market where your skills lie. Either way, it is important to have a clear goal when you start your business and this will ensure you are always working towards your desired end result. Put simply, you wouldn’t buy a two-seater convertible car for a family of five, so why invest your valuable time and money into a business without making sure it is sustainable? Planning a sustainable business is not just about having a great logo or an animated website, but about the business’s structure and direction. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Create a vision for your business: work out who your customers are, your business values and the role you want to play.
- Build a brand: create a name, logo (symbol) and positioning statement based on the above attributes.
- Get your message out: think about the marketing material you need to speak to your current and potential customers – a savvy email campaign, fridge magnets or brochures.
- Systemise: boring, yes, but have a clear administrative and operative procedure in place for all the tasks so someone else can take over seamlessly.
A key point in creating a sustainable business is to recognise that it needs to grow. So many business people make the mistake of thinking that because they are swamped with work now, it will always be that way. Put together an action plan for when the work dries up because you can’t always guarantee your customers will continue to call you. Consider a new marketing strategy or expanding your service offering. The other part of this planning exercise is to think about your exit strategy. It may seem strange to think about the end when you are just starting out, but if you have already mapped out your plan – including your retirement or selling up to do something bigger and better – the end won’t traumatic, but more like something to celebrate. Your planning strategy must be revisited regularly so you can assess whether you are on track and if you need to adjust anything to make sure you reach your goals.