A new financial year is the perfect time to review your business plan to ensure it can support your company’s growth strategy.
Here, two leading business coaches share their five top tips to ensure your strategy is fit-for-purpose for the 2017/2018 financial year.
1. Determine your direction
The new financial year is a good time to reassess your goals and set the direction of your business. It’s the time to review the past year, consider where your work came from, how you did the work, what you want to do in the next year and where you want to be this time next year.
“Come up with a plan for the next year including how you are going to get there. This plan does not have to be set in stone and should be reviewed at least every three months,” says Jeremy Streten, the author of The Business Legal Lifecycle.
“Stretch yourself and set a realistic goal that can be achieved but is not easy. More often than not when you do that, you will actually reach the goal you didn’t think was possible.”
2. Focus on the external
According to entrepreneurial strategist Paul Broadfoot, this year it’s imperative to focus on your business’s exterior world.
“That means not just your customers, but your markets. Getting fit will mean pull ups to look over your castle wall at what is going on outside, as well as push ups to help push away incessant demands on your time to ensure you have a refreshed strategy,” he advises.
Broadfoot says this external focus involves identifying market trends that could limit revenue growth in the future and creating space for innovation and strategy upgrades. Using technology to improve business performance, and identifying new business opportunities should also be a priority.
3. Find new sources of revenue
The new financial year is the right time to identify opportunities to find new sources of revenue.
You can do this by identifying new products, customers and markets. The idea is to set aside time in the business to do this research, or outsource it if the business does not have sufficient resources.
Jeremy Streton says, with so many businesses in all areas competing for consumers’ attention, it is important to consider different revenue sources.
“Challenge the traditional ways of doing what you do or selling what you sell. If you are adding more products and services to the list of what you offer, consider packaging them up or offering a different way to pay for them.”
Business owners and consumers are always looking for new ways of solving problems, so consider what will work, test it in the marketplace and be ready to adapt quickly to meet a new need if it doesn’t work.
4. Explore opportunities to automate
Automation is one of the biggest business trends. It allows companies to streamline their operations and increase efficiencies to become more productive and profitable. Identifying the right technology is key.
“The best approach to technology and automation is to assume something has already been invented to help you and go and find it. Most times you’ll find something you weren’t aware was available,” says Broadfoot.
Then it becomes an economic decision about the cost versus the benefits of investing in the technology. It’s a good idea to stay close to technologies as prices come down and performance improves.
5. Delegate, delegate, delegate
So many business owners spend too much time working in not on the business. The new financial year is the perfect time to look at the aspects of your role you can delegate to others so you can work on business strategy.
This will not only free up your time, it will also help extend your team’s skills. At the same time it will also improve morale as you are offering talented staff opportunities to become more senior and take responsibility for business performance.
These are just a few of the steps you can take to drive business strategy this new financial year. The idea is to implement a continuous improvement program to ensure you’re always checking whether your strategy is on track.