If you are starting a new business or running a new start-up, it's easy to get caught up in dealing with day-to-day issues. Taking the time to look at your business strategy helps you to think about the bigger picture and the longer term.
A good business strategy helps you identify what the best opportunities are and how you can make the most of them. It also helps you think about what your priorities are and how your business needs to fit in with these. For example, a working parent who wants to start a part-time business will need a strategy that takes all their commitments into account.
Equally, stepping back to think about strategy helps you avoid the misguided beliefs that trip up new businesses.
Preparing your business strategy
For a new business, a SWOT analysis can be a good starting point. This helps you to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of your business are, the opportunities you could exploit and the threats you face.
If your business is already operating, you might also want to use benchmarking. This helps you learn from competitors and other businesses by looking at how they do things and comparing their performance against yours.
Understanding your customers and the competition is vital, so the more market research you can do the better. You may find it useful to put together a detailed marketing plan along with a broader business plan.