When you’ve invested time and money in a business, it can be easy to get caught up in individual accomplishments, without considering what tomorrow will bring. However, focusing solely on the present may work to ensure that any successes you have are merely fleeting.
In order to make sure your venture is viable and successful for years to come, you should place priority on the future. With wide research, informed predictions, and thorough planning, your next steps – however big or small they might be – should take you forwards, not backwards.
To help you ensure your enterprise has longevity, take a look at our guide on how to future proof your business.
Review your business plan
Your business plan was your core when you first started out, a map to help you navigate the tricky first steps of setting up shop.
However, once your activities are in full operation, sticking too rigidly to your business plan can be a bad idea. As the nature of your operation changes, whether you’re expanding your workforce, moving into new areas, or altering your financial setup, your business plan should change with it.
You shouldn’t just pay attention to what’s happening internally when looking to update your plans, but also what’s happening externally. Not reacting to wider industry progresses and trends may leave your business looking outdated; as the world changes, so should your business plan. Remember that your plan isn’t just a list of what needed to be done when started out, but is a reflection on where your business should be heading.
Build a small core team
When operating a business, you should always ask yourself “do we need to be spending this?”. As your incoming capital increases, getting lax with your expenditure can be easy to do; not just on marketing and investing in products, but also on your employee base.
When considering expenditure, you should always place priority on staffing requirements. Only employ the bare bones team needed to ensure your business can operate, and steer clear of hiring “extra hands”. This isn’t just a good idea to keep spending low, but also for building up business morale; having a close-knit, trustworthy core team improves the chances of your staff being personally invested in your venture.
If your business is expanding, ask yourself if any work can be outsourced. Outsourcing work to freelancers can often be cheaper than creating new roles, especially if the new work created is sporadic or only temporary in nature.
Make your workspace flexible
When looking at property for your business, you should avoid being too ambitious, or not thinking about how your business might progress. Rather than purchasing premises and needing to take out a mortgage, invest in a short term lease. This means that whatever direction your business proceeds in, whether you grow larger or smaller, you won’t be tied down to premises that are no longer suitable.
As business growth can be unpredictable, your workspace should be flexible to reflect this. In the eventuality that your business is growing and your property proves unsuitable, you may end up limiting your future. A business lease therefore could be the deciding factor in whether your business steps into the future, or stagnates in the present. As many high street banks offer lending programmes to support all sizes of businesses looking to lease, you’ll be able to finance your property in a way that suits you best.
Get financial support
However secure you are of your incomings and outgoings, it’s always useful to have a financial buffer. Even the most secure of business may struggle to fully self-finance the costs of setting up or expansion all in one go, and looking for outside help from sources such as business banks is always a good idea.
With services such as a long term loan, you’ll be able to receive money that can help to fund specific business areas, such as the purchase or lease of assets and property. Plus, many high street banks offer business current accounts to support ventures of all sizes, meaning that however small or large your business is, you should be able to find funding that suits you. This way, you’ll have a regular, predictable source of income to support your business activities, and encourage future growth.
Track the competition
Running a business requires a dual focus, both on what your business is doing but what others are doing. In order to ensure you’re making steps in the right direction, keeping an eye on your competitors is essential.
Looking at your competition, you should ask a few questions. What are they doing that you’re not? How are they marketing themselves? How do their products or services compare to your own?
Knowing this information doesn’t necessarily have to result in you changing your business to follow the market, and it could in fact result in the opposite. In fact, tracking what your competitors are doing and reacting in the opposite direction is one key way to ensure your business stands out. In differentiating your services as distinct from the competition, customers will see you as an individual option, rather than one of simply many providing the same service.
In summary, if you’re not considering the future of your business, the likelihood of it having one is limited. In tracking competition, securing your finances, and considering the people and places you want to take your business forward, you can help to ensure your venture has longevity.