Tips for improving your business
As a business owner, you are probably aware of where your business could improve. Sometimes business owners want to improve their business, but are not sure how to start the process.
This guide provides an overview of some of the key steps you can take to start improving your business.
Assess your situation
Before you start implementing changes to improve your business, it's a good idea to make sure you have a full understanding of the factors impacting on your business success.
These factors may include your current business practices, market trends or changes to the wider environment in which you operate.
A number of tools can help you assess your business's situation. These include:
- SWOT analysis - helps you identify your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Benchmarking - measures your business's performance against similar-sized businesses in your industry.
- Market research - investigates your business's market and industry to identify trends, changes and customer or client demands.
- Trend analysis - uses business data collected over time to identify consistent results or trends.
- Webinars (web-based seminars) provide useful information that can help you develop your business skills.
Set clear goals
Business goals can be as broad or as specific as you want them to be. Writing down your goals clearly will make it easier for you to achieve them. Make sure your goals are:
- specific - state clearly what you want to achieve
- measurable - make sure you can evaluate success
- achievable - check your objective is something you have the time and resources to meet
- relevant - make sure your objectives improve profit drivers and improve some part of your business
- timely - set a specific date for completion.
Once you have written down your goals, you should prioritise them to decide which ones to focus on first.
Some goals may need to be addressed more urgently than others. It's also important to recognise that some goals will need to be addressed with a long-term strategy because you won't be able to meet them immediately. This could be because of resources, finances or time.
Identify strategies for achieving your goals
Review your goals and list the factors that you think are creating your current circumstances. Think about what strategy you could use to improve the situation.
Depending on the goals you're trying to meet, you may want to think about using the services of a business professional, such as a professional trainer, a contractor or a business adviser.
Think realistically about what you can do yourself and where you may benefit from some support.
Develop a plan for implementing your strategies
To achieve your goals, you need to work out how to implement your strategies. Strategies often include several specific actions or tasks. It's a good idea to develop a plan for how you will do this.
Write your plan in a format that suits you. It should include:
- time frame - how long a task will take to complete as well as start and finish dates
- actions - state the individual actions as precisely as you can
- responsibilities - assign accountability for each action so everyone knows precisely what you expect of them and who is responsible for ensuring the work is done
- resources - list budget, staff or supplies needed to complete each action
- desired outcome - state how you will know that the action has been completed.
When you've developed your plan you might want to also update your overall business plan.
Measure the results
Establishing how you will measure the results that you want to achieve may be as simple as checking you've completed an activity.
With larger goals, you may have to establish a more complex measurement process, like increasing profit by a set percentage, or gaining a particular number of new clients. With these types of goals, it can also be useful to set points to measure their success as you're working on them. This will help you keep your plan on track.
Consider how often you want to measure your business achievements. This can also help you set new goals regularly.
- Last updated
- 07 March 2013
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