Below are a few considerations for maintaining a long term strategy in your small business.
When in doubt, remember your value proposition
From a broad perspective, business strategy is: “A long-term plan for growth and profitability,” according to the Harvard Business Review. It can be easy to get distracted from the plan and not keep your metaphorical eyes on the prize. Many growing companies find themselves with competing priorities and initiatives. For example, diversification of a product line may be a profitable goal. Diversifying your offerings, however, can make you distracted from core company competencies and stretch resources too thinly. This can result in your team finding it difficult to reach their original goals. Your long-term strategy should mesh with the vision or mission that made you want to start your business and the overarching value you provide customers.
Build on core competencies
Recognize and understand your company’s core competencies — knowing these can help you deliver new products your customers want.
For example, your core competency is making pizza and “going vegan” becomes a rising trend in town. Perhaps you can start offering vegan options to serve customers effectively. If serving health-conscious customers is a core competency, then adding gluten-free options may be a way to provide more options for customers. Ignoring your core competencies to branch out into a new offering may be successful. It can also be a harder road for your company to travel and harder for customers to accept.
Be nimble and fluid
Smaller firms have the ability to pivot quicker than large firms. Markets change, new competitors arise, technology impacts how you run your business, and your customers’ tastes change over time.
Analyzing sales data, utilizing industry research and soliciting customer feedback regularly can help inform what initiatives are driving your business today. As external changes begin to effect your business, if your strategy is based on the value you’re bringing customers, making changes to your business can be less of a disruption and more of a rapid adaptation.