Many a good business has run aground on the rocks of spectacular failure. It’s difficult to pilot your ship through the stormy seas of small business ownership, especially with the giant, many-tentacled sea monster of financial trouble ever lurking.
Let us be your lighthouse, to cap off this particular metaphor.
The important thing for any business is to always be looking ahead, and every business large and small should be planning for the future. When I speak with a business owner, I always like to ask them what kind of future growth they see for their particular business. I like to know where they’re headed and what plans they have in place, and often I’m greeted with insightful and well-thought-out answers.
Sometimes, though, I’m met with a shrug. That’s an understandable attitude—running a business day-to-day consumes a lot of thought—but it’s not the right attitude. A business that doesn’t know where it’s going is that lonely ship in dark, choppy waters, never knowing how close it is to screeching onto the rocks.
So it helps to plan ahead. What, exactly, should you plan for?
Having A Plan
- Where will your business be in one, five or ten years? This isn’t an exercise in realism, naturally, but it’s instructive to take a look at where you want to be and how you might get there.
- What do you need to stay stable and to grow? If it’s equipment, do you need equipment financing? If it’s just making it through a slow season, would working capital loans* work? Are you able to save for expenses you know will be ahead?
- If you’re going to reach these goals, how are you going to get there? What marketing efforts, hiring initiatives or new product development needs to happen?
- How can you keep your goal in mind even when there’s immediate, pressing needs? It requires discipline and at times will be impossible, but nail that sucker to your office wall so you have a guidepost.
And it’s really as simple as that. It will take time and effort to develop your plan, but if you’re always looking ahead, you’ll find the waters ahead look a lot less menacing.
Do you have a multi-year plan for your business?
Photo credit to iStock
*Working capital not available in the following states: AK, DE, ND, VT