Every business wants to be unique in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market place – thing is if you’re like most businesses there’s one area where your business is struggling to claim a point of difference.
I’ve been working in public practice accounting for over a decade now and what I keep seeing is businesses without a clear plan for their future. Australian Bureau of Statistic figures show that over 60% of small businesses in this country fail within the first three years.
If you were heading on an adventure across Australia I bet you’d look up some routes to take that would ensure you see the sights on your bucket-list. Then why do so many business owners neglect to plan for the growth of one of their most important assets – their business?
A plan gives you clarity; which leads to confidence that you can achieve what you set out to.
I’ve been reading lately on procrastination , you see I’m also far from perfect when it comes to activating everything I should in my business. I’ve also recently taken a short-course in decision making (that’s a whole other post) – but what keeps arising as a theme is that we procrastinate typically when something is of high importance to us and we therefore want to get it right (the first time). We get anxiety about knowing where to start, which means that we never really start.
The thing is – because we don’t start, we end up spending more time going in circles then if we just put something down and started acting on it. You likely have a rough idea of where you’re going. Perhaps you’ve scribbled some notes down in a wayward notebook? So you have the start of a business plan and you just didn’t realise it. But if you’re really serious about your business, your plan should be something you go back to regularly. Your staff should know what the destination is and how their activities help to get there.
So how can we get over the procrastinating and take the first steps to putting a plan together?
I think the first step is realising that you’re not alone – and that the best way to start is to just start. The obsession with getting it right the first time is misguided, because just like when you drive somewhere, there are multiple ways to reach a destination and it’s ok to change your mind along the way and head somewhere else.
The second step is to ask for some help where you’re stuck. Seek out an advisor for your business, they might not be able to fill all your gaps but they likely have a network that can. Join with some other business owners you trust and form an advisory board. Read more, attend workshops and events to build your own knowledge.
By putting a plan in place and taking a look at your business from another perspective you can start to build your competitive advantage. We’re going to explore the nitty-gritty of how and where to start in future posts, but for right now, I challenge you to find that wayward notebook (or buy a new one) and start writing down your short, medium and long-term goals.