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How Firm Are Your Foundations?

Apr 04, 2022

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you may remember that in December, we wrote about business foundations.  (If not you can catch up here: How are your business foundations). The article discusses how building strong foundations isn’t sexy; it isn’t always innovative or creative. It can be time consuming to do and requires focus. However, firm foundations can be the differentiating factor in a business being successful (or not), and they may be the key to unlock the growth potential of a business, whereas sloppy foundations will hinder it…maybe even break it.

 

In this article, we are going to take delve deeper into the eleven areas that we think should be considered as part of robust foundations and business basics. If you had to score yourself and your business out of ten for each area, how would you rate?

 

  1. Business Planning

 

This encompasses both long term planning (vision, mission, and values) as well as our actual business plan and strategy for success, plus day-to-day planning (including time management and prioritisation).

 

  1. Services and Products

 

What is the product range?  Do we have more than one revenue stream and different price points? In this section we might want to consider our customer journey map, product map and competitor analysis, too.

 

  1. Customers

 

Without customers we don’t have a business. Who is our customer? Where will we find them? We need a strategy for acquiring new customers, as well as plans for improving our customer’s experience, building loyalty and retention.

 

  1. Brand

 

Now we understand our customer, we need to make sure that our brand will resonate with them. Part of this is consistency, across our website and all of our online and offline channels. Do we have brand guidelines? Have we defined our brand voice?

 

  1. Marketing

 

Marketing includes all the different ways that we are going to get our message out there.  We may have a website, social media platforms, an email list and a bricks and mortar store.  We need to have a cohesive strategy that’s innovative, creative, and measurable, so that we know what’s working best for us and delivers the greatest return on investment.

 

  1. Sales

 

What does our sales funnel look like? How will we measure and track our numbers? What can we tweak to increase our profit margins?

 

  1. IT

 

Our IT plan should include hardware and software. Have we considered all the risks? What’s our plan for business continuity if something stops working? Are our processes documented? How will we train ourselves and our staff to future-proof the business?

 

  1. Legalities

 

The legal plan needs to incorporate insurances, tax, VAT, etc, as well as intellectual property issues and copyright. We can’t all be experts in everything, so we need to have professionals that we ‘know, like and trust’ to offer advise and guidance when we need it. Who do we have in our contacts list?

 

  1. Financials

 

Many business owners find the numbers scary. If that’s the case, do find a friendly and approachable Accountant who can be relied upon for regular updates and conversations through the year, not just at year end or in tax return season. Do employ simple and reliable software that makes book-keeping easy; this can then be used for analysis and forecasting.

 

  1. Documentation

 

All processes should be documented and regularly reviewed as the business grows and evolves. This should include all the policies and procedures in the legalities section too.  Consideration should be given for automation where possible and keeping up to date with new technologies that could streamline the business and increase efficiency.

 

  1. Team

 

Last but by no means least: TEAM! This might be employees, contractors or freelancers that take on outsourced work as necessary. How does the business communicate effectively to make sure that everyone is on the same page? Are there clear contracts, roles, and expectations in place? What happens when someone is on holiday or off sick? Is there a plan for training and personal development? (If you missed last month’s blog on this topic, you can read it here)

 

How did you score?  Have we given you food for thought? Which areas will be your priority to align with your 2022 goals?

 

At Real World Consultancy, we have a Business Growth Toolkit to focus on all these areas. It includes information, videos, downloads, useful checklists and ready to implement, tried and tested tips. Once you are on one of our programmes, you’ll get full access. Ask your Coach for details.