Why it’s important to think and implement strategy like a big business from the outset

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Whether you are a sole trader or running a small/medium sized business, you need to have the right mindset from day one.

You will be what you want to be and if you start on day one, believing yourself to be insignificant and just a tiny business then the chances are you will remain like this throughout your business journey. In order to be taken seriously by others, whether that is the competition or our customers, we need to believe in ourselves first and foremost.

Regardless of size or number of years trading, all businesses have the same objective – to make a profit. The ways to approach this should not differ. In order to achieve a profit every single business needs to be aware of and take responsibility for key business functions.

Set realistic sales objectives

Setting sales objectives on a micro level will ensure that you stay on track, that is identifying where the sales are going to come from, at what level and most importantly when. Once this is clear, attention needs to be given to the level of profit generated by each sale. If decisions are taken to execute a piece of business at a loss, it needs to be a considered and deliberate decision not one which materialises after the event.

Monitor your marketing activity

And of course, in order to generate the sales in the first place, you need to establish outcomes from each element of marketing activity you undertake – whether you are in a large business with large marketing budgets or in a small business where you are deciding whether to attend a networking event. Every activity is an investment and needs to generate a worthwhile return. If outcomes are not established at the outset you will never know whether to repeat the activity or indeed on a top level, whether it was successful or not.

Continually track and review company performance

When you run your own business and you only work for yourself, it is easy to fall into the trap of not needing to “report” to anyone – in other words, if you don’t start working at 9am or leave early, who minds? On a more strategic level, who will insist on a formal review of your activities? If your sales start to drop or your number of customers begins to decline, no one will be asking you why – and yet it is during these times, when things are not going so well, that you need to continually review your business.

As part of ensuring you have the right mindset you need to ensure that you have a formal structure, in other words a business plan, so that you can review your business against your expectations. In large organisations, it is standard procedure to have targets and formal review meetings so adopt the right mindset from day one and do exactly the same.

Aim high, right from the start.

Emma Wimhurst is the author of BOOM! 7 Disciplines to CONTROL, GROW and ADD IMPACT to Your Business