When you put on your hard hat and get involved with the inner workings of starting a business, one thing you may forget to do is plan ahead. It’s easy to make a giant to-do list filled with tasks you need to get done as soon as possible, whether to attract the attention of investors or to get your first product or service ready for a full-fledged launch. You may find yourself wrapped up in sales-related efforts to build your client database, social media following, or website subscribers so you can keep them posted on what’s going on with your business and inform them of special deals that they should know about.
But before you know it, your business will be growing. Your initial products and services will be out in the market. You’ll find yourself scratching your head and wondering what’s next?
To avoid falling behind by spending too much time concentrating on the now of your strategic plan and neglecting the later, here are four things you can do to create a game plan for the future.
Spending quality time developing your business now sets the stage for you to optimize it in the future.
1. Set three-, six- and nine-month goals.
Before you know it, your to-do list will be filled from top to bottom with tasks that you have to get done right this second. That’s why it is important when you begin your business to set three-, six- and nine-month goals. Plan far ahead with these goals and include items on your immediate to-do list that help you hit those milestones.
2. Give yourself a yearly review.
A great thing to do when you have a moment to breathe is to give yourself and your business a yearly review. Much like the one you’d receive from a boss, this review will examine what has worked well with your business, whether that was your digital media strategy or branding, and what needs improving, such as customer service or public relations. If you don’t spend time on a review, you may find yourself three years into your business without any clear indication of what is working well and what needs a little more attention, research, or hands-on help.
3. Dream big.
Sure, it’s important to focus on getting your first product or service to market as soon as you can, but it’s equally important to remember to dream big and strategize about what else you can create and sell. Spend time brainstorming future innovations, packages and even ways to meet customers’ needs.
4. Ask for help.
It might seem like a daunting task to plan ahead for your business when you barely have enough time to focus on getting things done that require your attention right now. That’s why it may be helpful to seek advice from fellow business owners, mentors and entrepreneurs, who can take a look at your business plan and help you brainstorm ways to expand, change and grow for the future.
Spending quality time developing your business now sets the stage for you to optimize it in the future. Think about what’s next, devote time to strategizing and lay the groundwork for future developments so your business can keep evolving as you work hard to shape it into the success it can become.