Whether you are in Western Canada where the economy has improved or Eastern Canada where it has stabilized, as business owners you are being presented with new opportunities and challenges. Regardless of what you are facing, a strategic plan is critical to your business's success, since both environments can create new opportunities as well as challenges. You need to focus on addressing the realities of now, not following a roadmap that was done for past realities.
Following this eight-point plan for refocusing your strategy can ensure your operation thrives and will enable you to take advantage of emerging opportunities at the right time.
1. Revisit your business plan. Are your previous plans still feasible—or even desirable—given the economy and market of today? Business planning gives you a concentrated opportunity to focus on the key areas of your business such as the production mix, staff requirements and management functions.
2. Refocus on your customers. Before targeting new customers, make sure your existing ones are happy. Get creative when thinking of ways to satisfy them. Find out where they come from. The only way you are going to get an accurate view of your customer is to fully understand where they are coming from—what their issues are, what they are satisfied with and what they are not satisfied with, etc. Consider how you can better use referral sources. The better you know your existing customers, the more strategically you can approach them to grow your business. If a customer is particularly happy in one area, they may be a useful ambassador for your business when approaching new clients with a similar need. You need to consider the satisfaction of current customers as the first priority before you begin reaching out to grow your business.
3. Evaluate your competition. Weaker competitors may have left the marketplace and some of your stronger competitors may have changed their business strategies. Find out what products are being offered now and who your competition's customers are. Use the information to reassess your own strategy.