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Strategy for success: Tips for SMEs

· Strategy,SME

Strategy planning may seem like a secondary concern for busy directors or leaders of SMEs. However, as we explored in our last blog, thinking about future strategy is absolutely critical to the long-term sustainability of any organisation.

 

From succession planning to customer insights, there’s a lot of ground to cover when mapping out a strategy for the growth and development of your business. To set you on the right path, our business consultants have pinpointed some of the key things to consider when creating your strategy.

 

Aligning key players

Most SMEs have several directors or shareholders to satisfy, which is why developing a strategy that everyone can agree on, as early as possible, is vital. Bringing key players into the strategy planning process promotes buy-in to where the business is headed, ensuring that everyone is working to the same goals.

 

Firming up a strategy also allows you to identify gaps in your leadership before they become a problem. Perhaps there are fellow directors or shareholders who might be unable to keep up with the growth of the business, or whose skillset is no longer needed. Addressing this now can side-step problems later down the line.

 

This is particularly true when dealing with non-executive directors, who may have other commitments on their time. By auditing your board as part of the planning process, you can determine whether you need to acquire new skills and expertise to maintain an effective team of decision-makers.

 

Staying connected to customers

Startups are so successful because they are established to solve a problem or fill a gap in the market. But what happens when they become SMEs? How do they stay connected to the customer as they grow?

 

To ensure that the company continues to know what customers want – or, better still, predict what they will need – it’s vital to put the framework in place to gather feedback about the market and demographic. Whether that’s by monitoring trends or asking for feedback directly, these processes should be considered as part of the growth strategy.

 

Changing for the better

Ultimately, the main outcome of any strategy should be to change the business in a fundamental way, or improve the status quo for the better. In order to do so, it’s vital to set meaningful, realistic plans that give the business focus and direction.

 

Setting achievable goals will help to highlight any obstacles and levers along the way, making sure the business is structured to deliver continual growth. Tie these to clear accountabilities; address who is working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it, to ensure continual improvements to systems, processes, quality and efficiency are made.

 

Putting the wheels in motion for a growth strategy is something that shouldn’t be rushed or taken lightly. By being aware of the factors a robust plan should include, you can begin to firm up a vision for the future that everyone in your organisation can work towards.

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