Growing your Business

Ararat Rural City Council has a dedicated Economic Strategy Team with an in depth knowledge and understanding of the region's industries, major projects and economic strategies impacting the region.Partnerships are critical for future economic prosperity. Networks and clusters are a means of harnessing resources, building capacity, developing skills and adopting new technologies. The Economic Strategy Team act as a link between industry and commerce and the State and Federal Governments.

As a business owner, you are probably aware of where your business could improve. However sometimes owners are not sure how to start growing their business.

This checklist provides an overview of some of the key steps you can take to start improving your business.

Assess your situation

Before you start making changes to your business, it's a good idea to check you have a full understanding of the factors that are impacting on the success of your business. These may include your current business practices, market trends or changes to the wider environment in which you operate.

A number of tools can help you assess the health of your business.  These include:

  • SWOT analysis: helps to identify your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Benchmarking: measures performance against similar-sized businesses in your industry
  • Market research: investigates your market and industry to identify trends, changes and customer or client demands
  • Trend analysis: uses business data collected over time to identify consistent results or trends.

Set clear goals

Business goals can be as broad or as specific as you want. Writing down your goals clearly will make it easier for you to achieve them. Make sure your goals are:

  • Specific: state clearly what you want to achieve
  • Measurable: make sure you can evaluate success
  • Achievable: check your objective is something you have the time and resources to meet
  • Relevant: make sure your objectives improve profit drivers and improve some part of your business
  • Timely: set a specific date for completion.

Once you have written down your goals, prioritise them to decide which ones to focus on first.

It's also important to recognise that some goals will need a long-term strategy because they can’t be achieved immediately.

Identify strategies for achieving your goals

Review your goals and list the factors that you think are creating your current circumstances. Think about what strategy you could use to improve the situation.

Depending on the goals you're trying to meet, you may want to think about using the services of a business professional, such as a professional trainer, a consultant or a business mentor.

Think realistically about what you can do yourself and where you may benefit from some support.

Develop a plan for implementing your longer-term goals or strategies

Longer-term goals or strategies often include several specific actions or tasks. It's a good idea to develop a plan of how you will do this.

Write your plan in a format that suits you. It should include:

  • Time frame: how long a task will take to complete, including start and finish dates
  • Actions: state the individual actions as precisely as you can
  • Responsibilities: assign accountability for each action so everyone knows precisely what you expect of them and who is responsible for ensuring the work is done
  • Resources: list budget, staff or supplies needed to complete each action
  • Desired outcome: state how you will be satisfied the action has been completed.

 

Develop a plan for implementing your longer-term goals or strategies

Longer-term goals or strategies often include several specific actions or tasks. It's a good idea to develop a plan of how you will do this. Write your plan in a format that suits you. It should include: Time frame: how long a task will take to complete, including start and finish dates Actions: state the individual actions as precisely as you can Responsibilities: assign accountability for each action so everyone knows precisely what you expect of them and who is responsible for ensuring the work is done Resources: list budget, staff or supplies needed to complete each action Desired outcome: state how you will be satisfied the action has been completed.