Strategy development is focused on developing an exact picture from the context through which your company operates, and determining the most beneficial, effective, and profitable solution. The best business decision you can create for your small business can be an informed decision. Let’s take a peek at how we prepare to do this.
‘Informed decisions’ imply a decision depending on relevant, timely, and accurate information. So your first task in the progression of your company strategy involves collecting and collating every piece of information you need to undertake the business assessment and analysis, where your strategy rests.
The information you need to collect
1. Current and Forecast Global Economic Data
For any organization that imports or exports, you will need to comprehend the global environment through which you operate and look at the implications for your company. Even if your small company is not associated with export or import, you will need an appreciation for your economic context by which your company operates and is also apt to be operating within the near future.
2. Current and Forecast National Economic Data
You need to see the national economic environment, including business and consumer confidence indicators, is and just what the experts are forecasting.
3. Current and Forecast State/Regional Economic Data
National economic indicators are the helicopter view from the economy, even though the state and regional economic reports target the local economic conditions. For local businesses, this information is vital. Regional reports detail issues confronting local companies and industry. This could include details about regional business closures or planned openings, staffing, and transport issues.
4. Current and Forecast Socio-Demographic Data
It is important to help keep track of the changing social and demographic fabric of society. Any population growth or decrease both nationally and regionally would have a direct effect on your organization. So too, is the changing life-stages of various generational groups. For example, the Baby Boomer generation is a result of start retiring in the next couple of years. You should be questioning, cautious impacts or opportunities arising from these changes.
5. Current and Forecast Social Trends
The mores of society are changing regularly and are continually being re-shaped. You need to devote some time out, to step away and examine these social changes in light of the current business operations and product offerings. For example, the uptake of social networks carries a possible effect on virtually every small company. It opens up opportunities, and several challenges, for small business marketing.
6. Industry & Market Reports
Industry and market reports are fantastic for finding in-depth information about your company is in. Unlike the above information, which is usually designed for free on government websites, or by request at their offices, market reports are often only obtainable to industry association members or when you purchase them from professional general market trends organizations, like IBISWorld.
These reports are usually on the expensive side, but in my experience, well worth the investment.
7. Competitor Intelligence
Industry and Market Research papers will almost always be an excellent place to start collating intelligence about your larger competitors and are ordinarily a valuable way to obtain benchmarking information, to compare your effort to the average. But it pays to undertake primary research into the competitors.
This includes examining your competition in regards to their strategy, customer profiles, product offerings, suppliers, etc. By looking at your competition, you can gain some insight about how precisely to compete effectively against them.
8. Business Intelligence
Business intelligence will be the insight you gather about your own business. This includes a performance with regards to key performance indicators, your strategy, your customer profiles, product offerings, efficiency and effectiveness, capabilities, and capacities. It should also include a SWOT assessment addressing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
9. Customer Intelligence
In my experience, businesses that respond and accommodate changing customer mores and demands and continually attempt to satisfy their potential customers with value-rich product propositions, are often more successful than those who don’t.
Make sure your small business gets the customer at the core of your small enterprise strategy, by undertaking primary (direct) research together with your clients. Knowing just what your visitors are demanding, and identifying what you would like, and having their assessment about how we are performing with regards to their wishes and demands, provides a solid grounds for a solid strategy.
10. Supplier Intelligence and Market Reports
It always pays to look into the market of your key suppliers. This helps to check out some from the issues facing your suppliers, which can eventually have a direct impact on your small company.
Take some time out to fully prepare for your strategy session to recover and collate the knowledge you’ll want to make informed choices about the best places to be taking your small business, as well as the path you should be taking to acquire there.