With all the uncertainty in the air, businesses might be forgiven for wanting to pull back a little and just keep things on a slow boil over the next year.
The fallout from the British exit from the European Union is still unclear, and with political turmoil back here at home not doing anyone any favours, sitting back and relying on a safe course of action is completely understandable. Setting your usual 12-month goals and being comfortable is perfectly normal.
But that might also be a mistake.
Now is the ideal time to think about ways you can transform your business in preparation for the year ahead – and this is about more than spending money, or upgrading your computers. Instead, you should be asking yourself an even more important question:
“Where is my business going?”
Think beyond 12-month goals. Expand your mindset, and think back to when you first started your business – are you still on that path, or have you veered off? Do you need to re-orient your business back towards that original pathway, or think even bigger and expand into something more daring? Do you perhaps need to pivot into a new business model?
The economy is changing, favouring smaller businesses and start-ups with low barriers to entry. You’re competing with businesses from across the world. Are you in a position to defend your own territory?
If not, a revolution may be in order.
Most business owners bristle at the suggestion of such a bold move right now. The year ahead represents opportunities for growth – and a risk like adopting a new business strategy is a lot to think about during a busy time. But now is exactly the right time to be thinking about it.
If you’ve drifted too far from your original vision, or if you have a new vision and are hesitant to put it into practice, you may be missing an opportunity to evolve your offering and place your business ahead of the competitive pack in your industry.
But it’s a new financial year, and you have the opportunity to fix it. It won’t happen overnight, but you have the ability to respond to your vision and plan ahead.
So if you’re feeling up to the challenge, here’s what you can do to revolutionise your business this year.
Where is your business going?
What’s your end game? Do you have a long-term vision, and are you on the way to achieving it?
Is one of your divisions dragging down the rest of the business? Does it need to be scrapped, or do you need to investigate an entirely new area of opportunity with a new division, which would include hiring more people?
Take the current uncertainty of our economy into account; think about what opportunities might be available to you. Is there a gap in your market right now you could expand to fill?
Even if that’s a little risky, just entertain the idea. Think about where you want the business to be at the end of the year, and then in three years. Forget the reality, and think about what you really want.
Now, you can make a plan to get there.
What do you need to get there?
Get practical. Think about the processes, plans and tools you need to put your plan into action. This could mean anything from resourcing to technology infrastructure.
Perhaps you want to take a step back and allow the business to be less dependent on you this year. Start thinking now about what responsibilities you need to delegate – that may mean hiring someone or outsourcing to an external agency. Finding the right person takes time, so start your research early.
What tools can you start using now?
If you’re about to embark on a massive strategy overhaul over the next 12 months, you’re going to need tools and processes to help make that happen.
Start-ups are able to act more nimbly and efficiently due to using cheap, powerful digital tools. If you’re stuck on outdated systems, then you’re already behind – even if your company is profitable. You’re restricting your business’ ability to grow and change at a speed that will allow it to remain competitive.
Hiring a virtual assistant will help take some more day-to-day tasks off your plate so you can focus on your big strategy play. Outsourcing tasks like your calendar, or even email, can save you plenty of time.
If you have staff, ensure they are collaborating more and not distracting you – or others – with busy work. A tool like Slack, for instance, can eradicate time-solving problems and shrink email inboxes.
Are your staff actively managing jobs? If not, products like Trello can manage work in progress – and visualises when someone has capacity to take on more work. Collaboration and sharing tools like Dropbox are also a no-brainer.
Remote work infrastructure and mobile solutions should be a big priority here. The more your business is able to work on the fly, the more productive you’ll be.
Remember, the tools are a means to an end. By facilitating collaboration and productivity you can get more done in less time. That frees you up to work on revolutionising your business, whilst making your company even more lean and efficient in the process.
How much do you want to succeed?
Don’t sit around and wait for an uncertain political and economic climate to get better – it’s going to be with us for a while yet. If you wait, you’ll miss your chance.
This year is the perfect time. Don’t just achieve, revolutionise.
About the author
Chris Strode is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Invoice2go, and leads tech and product for the company. As a small business owner, Chris founded Invoice2go in 2002 out of frustration with the lack of simple invoicing options available. He saw the opportunity for invoicing to go mobile when the iPhone first launched and under his leadership, Invoice2go has become the #1 invoicing app globally.