Reviewing Your Business Strategy
All businesses should have some kind of strategic plan, but putting that together is only the start. That plan must be a living, working document and be reviewed regularly and revised as appropriate. The main objective must always be to ensure you are continually building value in the business.
A successful review will gather information about and focus on the three key strategic questions: Where are we now; Where can we realistically go; and How do we get there?
• The strategic issues which will help address those questions will include internal factors, external factors, competition, products & services, management & employees, sales & marketing and financial performance.
• Key questions will include: Is our vision on track; are we sufficiently competitive; do we have sufficient key differentiators; is the right management in place; and is our profit growth as planned?
• Key information to carry out this review will include: Review of past successes (and failures); current trends; market analysis; SWOT analysis; and key driving forces.
• The SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will review your structure, strategy, skills, staff and systems.
• Your review should be kept simple and focus on fundamental questions: what do we do; who do we do it for; how do we do it; how can we do it better; and what else can we do?
• Other key issues to be regularly reviewed will include: what products and services do we provide; should we/can we diversify; what are our key markets; are there new markets for us?
• Your review of the market and competition will need to question who has the power in the market, how strong is your customer’s bargaining position, the threat of new entrants to your market and the threat of substitutes/copies.
The above summary is only scratching the surface of a strategic review, and any such review will throw up as many questions as it answers. It will however enable you to plan ahead with at least a fuller understanding of your business, and to carry out in-depth and quality financial planning to underpin the strategic vision and objectives.
3 March 2017