Qualities of Successful Business Owners – Strategically Focused

We all have days when we wonder if what we are dreaming of for our business or potential business are achievable. There are days when I find myself wondering if we will ever reach the heights I am inspired to take my businesses to. However, I know that I am strategically focussed to make those dreams a reality and I have put in place the things that are needed to make the imagined achievable. These are the things that can make the difference and produce a successful business owner. When no-one else can determine the future of your business it is important to have the strategic focus that will determine what is required to be a successful business owner.

This article was actually inspired by my recent participation in the South Australian Young Entrepreneurship Scheme. Over the course of the past year, I myself, have had the support of a mentor to help me remain the master of my strategic focus for my businesses so that we could bring them from one milestone to the next in sweet succession. Every business owner must have strategic focus to obtain long term success and here are some key indicators that you can measure yourself against.

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Business Owners with Strategic Focus know Where they are Going

Successful business people not only know where their business is at but know where they want it to be. They know it’s faults and flaws, they know its vulnerability to competitors, market changes, and supply issues and customer demands. They demonstrate their strategic focus by not just meeting each challenge but by pre-empting it as much as possible and putting things in place to prevent potential issues and taking advantage of market changes to grow their business.

This is, of course, not to say that business owners are not satisfied with where their businesses are today but rather that successful business owners are forward thinkers and look to tomorrow. For many small business owners, being strategically focussed towards tomorrow is what has enabled them to pay themselves today.

Business Owners with Strategic Focus have their Plan on Paper

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Often, business owners have a strategic direction that they wish to head towards but fail to write it down and make it tangible. This can, in itself, make or break a business. Having a strategic plan on paper enables a business to share it’s goals with employees and stakeholders. It is also something that can be put in a prominent place as a reminder as to where the business is heading and what is needed in order to get there.

A plan on paper will not only provide strategic outcomes but will also describe what the organisation will look and feel like when these outcomes will met. This may include something small like additional technologies to support the business, new positions within the organisation or maybe a little funding towards staff amenities. These are the rewards that will come with reaching those goals.

Business Owners with Strategic Focus have Specified the Tasks to achieve Strategic Outcomes

Also, built into those strategic plans will be very specific tasks to be achieved as stepping stones towards those strategic outcomes. Yes, not only does the strategically focussed business owner know where they want to be but they have also laid out the steps required to get there, added time frames for each step to be achieved and allocated each and every task to the most relevant staff member or stakeholder, even if they are the beginning and end to their own business.

By spelling out each step to achieve this goal and making someone responsible there are now some strong reasons for strategy meetings to hold key participants accountable and to see that each task is addressed in ways that are measurable for performance and has multiple approaches for success in place. For example, if a strategic goal is to double the number of new customers, then the key staff member that it has been allocated to should have multiple plans in place to attract new customers from stalls at suitable markets or expos, from Google AdWords campaigns, through to direct mail-outs and rewards for existing customers for referring a friend. Diversity can not only reach a potential customer where they are looking but can also strengthen brand awareness as the customer is exposed to the business at multiple contact points.

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Business Owners with Strategic Focus have built in Performance Measures

Having multiple approaches means that business owners need to consider how much time and money is spent on each. A strategically focussed business owner will include methods to measure the success of each approach so that further strategic decisions can be made as to how to best leverage capital for business success. Sometimes, this comes down to simply asking the question, ‘How did you find out about us?” at the bottom of an order form – it need not be rocket science. However, for the strategically focussed business owner it is sometimes useful to speak with a business consultant to see what other measures can be put into place.

Business Owners with Strategic Focus have Considered possible Market Changes

There are five main domains that the strategically focussed business owner will set their sights when planning also. These domains are suppliers, customers, current competitors and possible new market entrants as well as changes in the political and economic climate. A smart strategic plan will provide further ‘grey outcomes and tasks’ in preparation for any major changes along this vein.

Grey outcomes and tasks are a part of the plan that is not to be acted upon unless the for-seen trigger event comes to fruition. An example of this, is for a business cease the overseas sale of products with less than a ten per cent margin if the currency of sale drops by eight percent relative to the primary currency of the business. A political or economic consideration would be the impact of stimulus packages or carbon emissions trading schemes on your business’ operations and actionable steps if certain changes are put into place through legislation.

Business Owners with Strategic Focus regularly Review and Set New Strategic Goals

The business climate changes at an ever increasing rate and a business owner that is strategically focussed will sit down at least every quarter and review where their business is heading and how they intend to get there. Perhaps inspired by a customer suggestion or new products from a supplier, new strategies will be formed and tested with measurable results put in place for the measurement of success.

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All it takes to kick of a new strategic plan is often a gathering of the key stakeholders and a couple of cool beverages. So, what is stopping you from either renewing your plan or starting your first? Book a time now and write the agenda. If necessary, contact a business consultant to see whether they can assist in facilitating the process for you too.

So, how do you rate for strategic focus? 6 out of 6, or maybe 2 or 3? Even if you are not intrinsically someone with strategic focus, these are all areas that you can work on and develop – all it takes is practise and finding the tools to helps you learn how. To do this, all you need to do is make the time – if you are not sure where to start then find a mentor or professional coach and discuss it with them. If developing a strategic focus means success or failure in your business, doesn’t it make it worth striving for.