We come across it all too often with Small and Medium businesses (SME’s) working harder in order to manage and maintain their grip on the market. Growth comes down to evaluating your current position and practices by looking at how you can best build a business entity that is geared for growth. Understanding your business, market and influencing factors are only the beginning of smart practices.
Here is a checklist of questions you should answer yourself. They will give you a better understanding of your current position and enable you to make a better judged decisions that will reward you with profitable long term outcomes.
What are their strengths and Weaknesses?
What is their message to the market?
What image are they pushing out to the market?
What is their competitive advantage?
What is their value added strategy?
What differentiates you from your competitors?
What is your competitive advantage over:
Their product or service?
What value do you provide against your competitor?
By building a competitor strategy you are 39% more likely to create a high performing company. This analysis will provide value added reasons that differentiate you from your competition and give the market reason to choose you over other options.
PRODUCTS OR SERVICES
Is your product packaged to suit your target market?
Do you need to modify your offering (packaging, positioning, and image) to get the attention of your market?
What is the value of your offer to your market?
What are the market trends of your product?
What products/service are providing the majority of your sales and profits?
Do you have a measuring tool in place that provides current and reliable information?
You must ensure that what you are offering is suited to your target market. This may change due to internal and external factors that may see your market demand change over time. Having the right tools to monitor and measure influencing factors will keep you up to speed for that required of a proactive business manager.
Are you comparative to your competitors?
Does your pricing match your image?
Have you costed your product correctly?
What is your profit margin after all expenses?
What is the impact of credit, discounts and delivery costs to sales?
Do you monitor changes that affect your business?
What value is built into your pricing?
What is your markets perception of the cost of your offering after purchase?
Creating an effective pricing strategy is essential. Your pricing should match your image, you target market expectations and should be costed to allow for a profit margin. The importance of price is overstated as the value should far exceed the price of your offering. Understanding how to add value is far more important than the stated price. Price can be less relevant if what you have is worth paying for.
Do you have adequate market coverage and service?
Is your distribution channel delivering the results you seek? Why?
Are there other channels of distribution that you have overlooked?
E.g. Online, Partnership, Networks, Affiliations, Distributors, Resellers …
Investing in the right distribution channels will determine your market coverage and the accessibility of your offering to the market. You may need to consider opportunities that are available in different channels.
Is your message suited to your target market?
Is your message clear and easy to understand?
Do you have a budget?
What is working?
What is not working?
Are you measuring the success of your efforts?
What type of promotion is delivering the best return on investment? Why?
When it comes to promotion, you need to deliver the right message to suit your audience. Monitor if what you are offering, is what your market wants.
Do you continually educate and develop your skill sets?
Have you identified opportunities for improvement within yourself and your business?
Have you created an action plan to turn weaknesses into strengths?
Do you have measurement indicators to assess performance?
Do you have mentors or a business coach?
Do you include training as part of your business growth strategy?
Do you accept change as a necessary part of personal growth?
Continuous personal development is essential to get your business on the path to success. It is about consistently looking at improving your skills and knowledge in order to benefit your business and future prospects. If you require motivation or direction, look at bringing in a good business coach, a mentor and surround yourself with professionals who know more than you.
Do you have systems and processes in place that work for you?
Are your systems and processes able to be understood by others?
How do you prioritise your day/week/month?
Do you use a diary (electronic or print)?
Is your office or working environment cluttered?
Do you set deadlines on tasks?
Do you delegate work?
Can you minimise distractions?
Don’t overlook the importance of time management. It comes down to being organised, disciplined and structured. Doing it right the first time and having systems and processes in place will save you time and make you more money.
These are only a few of the critical elements of a business that affect your performance. Research and answer these questions wisely and with honesty. It is about identifying opportunities for improvement by reviewing your direction and key functions of your business.
You will surprise yourself with the results and open opportunities that keep rewarding.