You have a brilliant idea, rough out your vision, file organizational documents, set up a checking account and all the rest. In a matter of a few days, your business is already unique. Over months or years, with perseverance and many struggles, it takes off. You land more clients, hire employees, create physical and financial assets, and business activities are increasingly complex.
Your original north star vision may be the same or it has changed, but your business has grown. Your needs are different. Maybe you recognize internal challenges and market opportunities not being met. Maybe the last two quarters were sub-par on revenue and/or profitability, or a key client or two is looking at your competition. You know that your top line indicators and bottom-line metrics could be much better.
So, what to do next? Maybe you step back and ask the same questions you posed as you started the business.
- What? Your product/service/value proposition.
- Who? Your target clients. Your competition. Your vendor partners.
- Where? Defining your geographic market. Your resources to fulfill promises made.
- When? When can you achieve the next objective, and the next?
As your business matures, two other questions become more pressing.
- Why are you doing this? Maybe you have bigger goals looming around the corner.
- And, maybe most importantly, HOW?
At critical junctures in business, taking a critical look at your team’s leadership, strategies, culture, processes, capabilities, and behaviors is a good first step. Then apply the same critical look at your market and target customers. Those answers may frame new possibilities.