If you treat your business as a broking job with some HR and paperwork thrown in, you’re ignoring the fact that as an entity your business has the potential to grow. Which means the biggest obstacle to your business could actually be you; here are some ways to help fix it.
- Evaluate your business
The easiest way to gain some perspective is to step back from the day-to-day client service tasks and take a good look at where your business is positioned, both in relation to its own track record and to its competitors.
If you haven’t been in business long, or you’ve neglected to benchmark yourself, one popular method of assessment is the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The analysis can provide an insight into the gap between what you are doing and what you should be doing.
For example: you could be great at bringing in new business but find it difficult to convert clients into repeat customers. A SWOT analysis will lead you to ask: how can I tap into my current clientele to find additional business?
Tip: The end of the calendar or financial year is a great time for a SWOT analysis as most business owners often think along these lines naturally.
- Make a plan
Without a plan, your business is likely to continue on the path it’s on until it runs out of steam or encounters a roadblock. In good times, a lot of businesses do okay operating like this; in bad times, they fold. A plan can boost your boons and help you weather the downturns.
Start by outlining long- and short-term goals; these may be a combination of the opportunities (pursuing them) and threats (avoiding them) you identified in your SWOT analysis. It’s important to accompany goals with the actions you can take to achieve them. Make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Say your mortgage broking business has shrunk recently. One of your goals for the coming year could be to retrain in commercial finance, with a longer-term goal being to offer new products and services and serve a different demographic.
Tip: Once you’ve finalised your plan, make time and create space to implement it. A plan won’t work if you have no energy for it.
- Monitor and adjust
Once you’ve activated your plan, make sure it remains on track. This is easy enough to do if you’ve developed SMART goals where you can set milestones against measurable and time-bound criteria. But following a plan is one thing – adjusting it to suit new circumstances is another.
Monitoring is important for ensuring you’re steering your business in the intended direction. For instance, your goal could be to build your social media presence to reach new customers but you find, when you analyse the figures, that it doesn’t generate any new leads. You can choose to continue to invest in social media to attain other outcomes, such as establishing your brand, or you can reduce this activity to focus on another channel that might win you new business.
Tip: Build monitoring into your regular business activities. An annual review is essential, but try to check in at least every quarter, ideally every month. You can comfortably track smaller goals weekly.
Having a business is not just buying yourself a job. To make your business sustainable, to help it reach its potential and to urge it along a path of growth you need a holistic view, and that requires you to appraise it from the outside. Making time to do this is an investment that reaps countless benefits, from giving your broking business direction to providing you with peace of mind.
For more information on how PLAN Australia can help you attract the right clients and grow your business, contact us today.