As businesses emerge from out of hibernation due to COVID, it’s not simply “business as usual”; so much of the world of business has changed forever. So there’s no better time to take a business health check, writes business coach Suzzanne Laidlaw.
The majority of businesses globally will have seen some positive and negative impacts of the COVID pandemic, from a change in business model and team structure, through to financial implications and/or mental strain.
Looking at your business now, have you identified gaps or necessary changes in your business which can carry you forward through adversity? There are 5 key areas that I recommend are imperative to review on an annual basis, to develop a comprehensive and successful business plan (or review & update the one you already have):
- What is your vision?
What is the big picture of where you want to take your business? It may be 5, 10 or 100 years down the track; your vision is where it all starts and will be the magnet that draws you towards achieving that picture and will drive your actions every day.
Is your business vision still the same as it used to be when you reviewed it last (and pre-COVID?) – or has it changed? Is your business still on the same path?
- What is your mission?
Once you have a clear picture of your vision, it’s time to look at your mission. Your mission statement joins together what your business is made up of, what it does and how it does it. It explains which products and/or services you provide, who your target market is and where and how you will deliver them.
Are you providing the same services or products, or have you pivoted because of COVID? Have you changed or diversified the focus of your business, or the way you deliver to your customers? Are you delivering more online?
- What are your goals?
Having very clear and specific goals is paramount to a successful business. Reflecting on the goals you set a year ago, have you achieved those goals? If not, why not? It’s time to reassess your business goals, identify what is relevant and ensure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely)!
What are the wildly important goals that you would like your business to achieve by the end of the new financial year?
- What are your numbers?
Evaluating your numbers is another critically important part of business planning. Looking at your assets & liabilities (on your balance sheet), looking at each line of your Profit & Loss statement and creating a full monthly financial year budget will help you get crystal clear on what success looks like for your business, and will help you to determine the strategies needed to achieve those targets.
- What are your key strategies?
Coming down from your goals, what strategies are required to help you achieve your goals? The key outcomes could be around Marketing, Sales, Operations and Financials. Determining strategies in these four main functional areas of your business will help you to focus and delegate accordingly. Getting clear on these before the financial year begins, means you can get started as soon as the new financial year starts to give yourself higher chances of success.
Ultimately, a business health check is about looking at whether your business is still serving you. Sometimes, through external pressures or critical life events such as COVID, people realise that what they thought was working before, is now not. Perhaps your business model needs to change?
Share your goals with your team, and get them to take part in the planning and tweaking of your business plan to create a new plan for success. How can you come out of this better and stronger with more clarity of what your business is delivering to others, and how the business is providing for you?
Having your own business should provide you with joy and purpose, giving you the freedom of choice. If your business isn’t giving this to you and is, in fact, taking more away from you, it’s never too late to make the necessary changes. No matter what stage of business you’re at – startup, growing or an established business – it is always a good time to plan your future and adjust your business model to make it work for you, if it’s not giving you what you want.
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