When you’re running a business, you can’t assume that one good day will be followed by another forever. There will be boom times, but there will also be difficult busts, and you need to plan for these, as well as have aims and targets for your company to keep up momentum. Even if things are going well, you can’t settle for standing still, you always need to pushing forward or you’ll be overtaken by rivals who are more motivated, hungrier for long term success than you.
Start up entrepreneurs can often be turned off by this kind of long term planning – their drawn to the flexible early days of setting up a business and enjoy the appeal of the short term. This is not necessarily a bad thing – many start ups are sold by their original founders, and a group of more experienced managers can take care of it in the long term. If this sounds more like you, you still need to plan for the future, but it’s a future that involves selling the business, and your plans need to involve identifying potential buyers and making sure you business hits targets that will make it look like an attractive proposition, in much the same way that way if you bought a house with the aim to renovate and sell it, you would identify the kind of people who are buying in that area and make sure it’s attractive to that market.
Your plans will need to take in both short term targets and longer-term goals – think of them as tactics and strategy. In the long term, you set a strategy for your business. To increase turnover, move to bigger premises, hire more staff and so on. Your short-term targets are how you will attain that end goal: launching a new product, increasing your marketing spend and similar.
Your plans aren’t going to get you very far unless you measure your progress: without regular check ins, you aren’t able to assess how effective your decisions are. Using a market research company like Attest means you can track the strength of your brand across the months and years and see how consumers are reacting to your decisions. Along with the data you can gather internally from sales, calls and refunds, this will create a way for you to measure success and failure, and begin to predict consumers reactions so you can be sure you’re making the right plans for the future.