MUCH like doing the dishes at home, stock taking in business is one of those chores we need to get done, whether we like it or not. All businesses – no matter how small or big – also need to take stock of their growth on a regular basis.
With the end of 2018 approaching, it can be the ideal time to take figurative stock of the five success elements of your business, by asking the following pertinent questions:
- People: do you need to invest in new people or new skills development?
- Purpose: has the focus of the business changed?
- Processes: do the activities people undertake still match the purpose of the business?
- Physical Resources: have you got everything you need to achieve your business’ purpose?
- Market: are you still serving the needs of your customers and clients?
If, in the end-of-year-madness, you only have time to take stock of one of the five success elements of your business, then focus on the last element – your Market. Listen to your market: Who they are, what they want, what they purchase, when and why they purchase, and what services they require. Don’t ever assume their wants and needs, but rather stay in touch with your market and regularly take stock of their changing needs and interests.
And remember… you do not operate in a vacuum
Do not only take stock of your own business, but also take figurative stock of the businesses you compete with for market share. Have they changed their approach, pricing structure, service offering and what is the perception on their offering?
Do not turn a blind eye to what your competition is doing, instead learn from them by researching their suppliers, customers and value offering. Importantly, you should not copy your competitors; rather focus on your unique offering and how you can grow your market share and become even better at what you do.
Apart from your competitors, internal and external factors also impact your business. Regularly take stock of how your macro-environment can impact your business. These elements include policies, compliance matters, the economic climate, new trends and technological advancements as well as environmental impacts. Anticipate these changes and trends expected to hit in 2019, so that you can remain ahead of the curve – for optimal business growth.