Whatever you may have been up to during the summer (or not), there is no question that the first week of September brings change – and often the first suggestions of Autumn. Schools reopen and roads get busier while businesses wake up from that summer torpor which holds back or even stops, the decision making process. 1st September is a wake-up call. The period from the beginning of September through to Christmas is a prime time for business. September is when we return hopefully refreshed, ready to take on the world. So what to do? Autumn may be a great time to drive business but it can slip by all too quickly. Like so often in business, Autumn is an opportunity but you must make the most of it. What are your plans for the rest of the year? More of the same, or do you have the vision to move things forward?
Never too late – or early!
I have been running BSA Marketing for over 30 years and I still spend time on planning. Whether you are just starting a new venture or you are an established success, developing and refining your vision for your business is immensely powerful. Having a clear vision of what you aim to achieve in the long term gives a structure to planning your short term actions. Without a goal, it is easy to fall into the trap of just doing what you do because you do it, trying to maintain the status-quo. This is how you can find yourself at Christmas with nothing having changed, or things changing without your control. Having a focus on your vision is what makes the difference. If you know what you aim to achieve, you can plan to achieve it – and, just as important, keep things that happen in perspective.
A cautionary tale
Over the summer, we have been reviewing a number of our suppliers, and have decided to make some changes. Whilst none of our existing suppliers have not done anything wrong. Circumstances just changed. What had right for us in the past has ceased to be so, with new opportunities and offerings coming along that better suited our needs, and through which we believe we can develop our offerings to our clients. It is what happens in business all the time, it just isn’t great when it happens to you! This is particularly the case if you are trying to hold on to the status quo, just keep things as they are – and proves a point: you can’t! Things happen that are outside your control so actually, trying to keep everything as it is, is impossible.
The power of vision
I said earlier that a vision brings structure, it creates a path from now to your goal. When unexpected things happen, rather than simply breaking the status quo and potentially creating chaos, it is simply an opportunity to adapt the path and move ahead. In my own experience, the unexpected almost always has a silver lining if you have the plan to make the most of it. It is an opportunity to review what you have learnt and consider how you might do things better in future. Setting plans and achieving goals is one of the most rewarding aspects of running your own business but it never ceases to amaze me how many people focus purely on the short term, running the risk of being caught out when something catches them unawares, making reactive, knee-jerk decisions which are rarely the best.
One Vision – a planning primer
Regular readers will know that I am keen on practical advice so with all this talk of catching the moment and having your vision, how do you go about it? Business planning is one of the most widely written subjects, indeed there are numerous articles on our own blog – search planning. To get you started, here is a link to an article we wrote. It was a couple of years ago (in September as it happens!) but the keys to effective planning really don’t change significantly:
- Meaningful goals for both you and your business
- An honest and practical strategy
- A clear and realistic action plan linking the longer term to now
- Get on and do it!
If you’d like to see how we can help you create and achieve your vision, get in touch