Future 50: Taking your business to the next level

THE deadline of Friday, September 21 for submissions for the Future 50, a new EADT initiative to recognise and track Suffolk’s top up-and-coming entrepreneurs, is fast approaching. In the latest of a series of special features, JAMES BANHAM from EADT Future 50 sponsor Lovewell Blake gives his advice on how you can take your business to the next stage.

ALL start-up businesses will have had some kind of plan at the outset with at least one strategic objective; it may have been just simply to survive.

Nonetheless it was an objective and to achieve that there will have been some kind of action plan even if it was not formally documented. There will have been plenty of enthusiasm, passion and belief, much of it driven by the desire to survive. The problem is that once you have got a foothold you quickly outgrow the plan; you focus on the operational side of the business, the part that enables you to generate the invoices which drives the cash, the lifeline of any business.

So how do you take your business to the next level? The key is to maintain the passion, enthusiasm and belief. How is this achieved? By making sure that your business is going in the direction that you want it to go in, not where others tell you it should go or where you have been or even where you need to go, but where you want it to go.

All too often people become controlled by their business. They only spend time working in their business and never any time on their business. The best way to maintain the passion, enthusiasm and belief is to ensure your business is fulfilling both your personal and business aspirations.

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Businesses that grow successfully recognise that they do need to change as they evolve. They take time out to ensure that they are moving in the direction they want to go in, not missing out on any opportunities that may arise. Success is a process not a one off event, it is a journey and you need to regularly review and check the route you are taking. To be successful you must have belief and you must know what it is you are striving for, only then will you be able to generate commitment, passion, energy and drive to see your vision through.

Strategic planning for owner managed businesses is the key to success and fulfilment. Three key questions, where are you now, where do you want to go and how are you going to get there. Too often with businesses there is either no planning or insufficient planning, or a plan without implementation. These businesses go off in different directions resulting in higher costs; frustration and taking longer to get to where they want to go, if indeed they ever get there. All businesses need leadership.

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