The only way to ensure that your business embarks on the right path and ensures steady growth is to develop a strategy. Now, the very word strategy has a way of sounding grandiose and intimidating but it’s actually something that any enterprise (even a one-person startup) can greatly benefit from. Therefore, here are several tips you can use to develop a clear business strategy for your small business.
1. Validate your idea
The first thing you have to do in order to ensure that your small business has a future is to validate your business idea. The way to do so is to start by checking if there’s a market need for your products. Check if there’s a need for your product, to begin with. You see about 42 percent of all startups fail because they’ve launched on an idea that there’s no market need for. To check this, you need to properly survey your target audience Don’t assume that you’re a member of your target demographic, even though the initial idea might have originated from you or someone like you.
2. Vision and mission statement
A vision statement is the simple issue of the direction that you want your business to take in the future. This is also incredibly important when choosing your partners, seeing as how you and your partner may share mutual interest even if you don’t share the vision. This way, you’ll be upfront with this from the very start and ensure that anyone who gets associated with you knows exactly what they’re getting into. As for your mission, you need to be a bit more specific when it comes to what you do, how you do it and what kind of value you bring.
3. Set a pricing strategy
The price of your products or services will greatly determine the future course of your enterprise. For instance, some like to set a price particularly low in order to penetrate the market and gain the initial audience that they can later expand. Once their presence in the niche is solid enough, they’ll gradually increase the price in order to grow their profit.
On the other hand, you may want to set an initially higher price for the product and then gradually lower it over the course of time in order to get the most value out of your product. This way, once all interested people who can afford it already get the product and become paying customers, you lower the cost and make it available to a wider demographic. This is how the technology industry works. However, some luxury brands like Louis Vuitton never go on a sale in order to avoid depreciating their own product.
4. Make sure everything is done by the book
Businesses who try to do things off the book are often cutting the branch that they’re sitting on. First of all, once you set your business on this slippery slope, you’re creating a scenario where you willingly relinquish a huge portion of legal protection that you’re eligible for. Therefore, from the moment you start the business, you need to do it all by the book. If you but an already existing business you need to do so via legal and advisory expertise. When you start hiring people, make sure that everyone gets an employment contract and never, ever, try to pay people under the table.
5. Decent infrastructure is crucial
Once your business starts growing, you’ll put your infrastructure to test. If your model isn’t scalable, you’ll have to introduce expensive changes and adjustments, as well as cause a lengthy downtime that can lose you both customers and reputation. The key thing you need to focus on, in order to avoid this is setting the proper foundations. First, you need reliable suppliers and a great storage system. This consists of everything from your storage space to finding suitable pallet racking system for your business. Other than this, you also need to focus on the delivery system. Here, you can either outsource this aspect of the business, hire owner-operators or start your own fleet. Either way, the choice you make now will stick with you for years to come.
6. Online marketing
The problem with making an online marketing campaign lies in maintaining consistency. In the future, you may decide to pivot or rebrand, yet, everything you do online leaves a permanent digital footprint. Deleting your posts is not as effective, especially since you don’t know who has the screenshot of what you’ve posted. This is why you need to consider how things that you’re uploading now might impact your brand in the future. As far as the quality of your content is concerned, it’s quite normal for it to improve over the course of time.
The very last thing you need to have in mind is the fact that no strategy is definitive. Things will change and you’ll have to make adjustments and alterations as you go. However, having a general sense of where you’re going and what you have to pass on your way there is always handy.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.