You’ve got a great business idea, so you’ve decided to strike out on the labour market on your own, and be your own boss?
Setting up your first business after graduation is a challenging yet exciting endeavour.
Learning how to create an effective strategy for your business will help you chart the direction of your venture and create cohesion within your team, so it can achieve its goals.
In this article, we’ll go over the key aspects of devising your first business strategy.
Understanding the market is fundamental for establishing your first business.
As you’re getting started, a thorough market analysis will allow you to make informed decisions, make revenue projections, and reduce risks.
Make sure you answer the following questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are their buying patterns?
- Who are my competitors?
- How can I create an advantage over my competition?
- What is the outlook of my market?
This might seem overwhelming at first, but you need to have a grip on these metrics in order to map out a future for your business.
When put to work, the insights gained from a thorough market analysis will complement your overall strategy.
For instance, new businesses need market insights to understand how the ongoing epidemic affects their customers’ spending habits, as this will shape their revenue projections for 2021.
There are several different sources you can rely on to obtain the necessary information, such as trade journals, eCommerce studies, surveys, and bureau statistics.
By identifying shifts in the industry and customer changes with data-driven insights, businesses can modify their marketing, sales, and management plans to accommodate any emerging changes.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
After researching and establishing your goals based on market analysis, your next step is to outline your marketing strategy.
The purpose of a marketing and sales strategy is to generate revenue, build brand awareness, and achieve business growth.
This major part of your first business strategy must tell you two basic things: how to market your product to your target audience and how to close sales.
Your marketing plan should encompass the following:
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Brand awareness and PR
According to a 2020 report from HubSpot, 75% of marketers claim that campaigns are directly influencing their revenue. Nearly 40% of marketers identify content marketing as a key part of their overall strategy and measure its success in total sales.
Additionally, marketers recognize the value of social media for improved traffic, lead generation, and growing a customer base.
The form of advertising you adopt will depend on your target market. For instance, if your service targets a younger audience, your efforts will probably focus more on visually-oriented social media, such as Instagram.
On the other hand, if you’re going for a professional demographic, you might want to focus on Linkedin, or even on more traditional advertising.
Nevertheless, your brand should project its core values across all platforms.
Therefore, a marketing and sales strategy is vital for achieving revenue and business growth and must be backed by facts and research.
Organisation and Management
An organisation and management plan is a detailed description of how your business will operate to achieve the goals outlined in your sales strategy.
It tackles the logistics, technology, and resource management needed to run your enterprise.
At its essence, an organisation and management strategy will do the following:
- Take stock of your technological and human resources and the budget you need to perform all of your operations.
- Secure distribution and supply networks.
- Assign roles and accountability to each team member, so that everybody knows their responsibilities in achieving strategic goals.
- Define deadlines and metrics in great detail so you can track progress as your business gets off the ground.
Make sure that your organization’s workflow includes new methodologies, such as agile practices.
For example, a survey with over 350 CEOs and leaders from Cascade has revealed that 45% of all businesses have had to implement new technologies to enable remote work due to new circumstances in 2020.
To summarise, an effective management strategy will be well defined yet allow for flexibility in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Being Prepared for a Worst-Case Scenario
No business strategy can be complete without having a fail-safe plan in case a worst-case scenario comes to pass.
Being prepared for the worst means taking precaution measures and having contingencies in place ahead of the disaster.
Adopting this practice can save your business from going bust. In case of a disaster such as a fire, or a flood, having insurance can cover the repair costs, thus saving your business.
However, this does not include the costs of business downtime and idle workers.
For instance, an IT network disruption or data loss can lead to long-lasting downtime and loss of revenue, as well as reputation damage, in addition to the expense of hiring outside help.
If a backup solution was employed as a safety precaution, such issues could be prevented.
Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to have a disaster recovery plan.
Start by assessing the most likely disaster scenarios for your particular business.
Then, set up contingencies that include both the protection from physical damage, as well as the loss of data.
Having a backup plan for even the most unpleasant of outcomes will help you take control of the situation quickly, and potentially save your livelihood.
A Holistic Approach to Business
The process of creating your first business strategy usually entails four interconnected phases:
- Market analysis
- Marketing and sales strategy
- Organisation and management plans
- Disaster recovery management tactics
Once you have created your first business strategy by following these steps, you should have a data-informed understanding of your target market, as well as precisely outlined business goals and methods to achieve them.
In addition, you should supplement those with operation management schemes and a fail-safe recovery plan for unexpected events.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be ready to enter the market and achieve business success.