How to plan for business growth without being overly optimistic
Planning for business growth sets up your organisation for success, making it easier to take advantage of opportunities and address challenges that can arise. However, effective strategy for business development needs to focus on things that are likely to occur. There's only so much time available to build your growth plans, after all. That means it is critical to avoid too much optimism or pessimism in your strategy.
Being overly negative isn't too much of an issue for many business owners, as they generally believe in their company's concept, structure and approach. However, an excess of optimism can sometimes sneak into planning. Let's look at how to build a realistically positive view of the potential for future business growth:
Setting realistic expectations for effective planning
"Set positive, powerful goals that you have a reasonable chance of attaining."
You know your business better than anyone. Your understanding of its history, strengths and areas for improvement mean you're uniquely positioned to develop a vision of your company's future. Tempering your optimism while being careful to maintain it in an appropriate context is vital.
SmartCompany highlighted digital transformation – which simply means leveraging digital tools to improve work flows and processes – as a key piece of advice for small-business growth. Companies can turn to digital transformation to address everything from common needs like bookkeeping and staff scheduling to more unique concerns related to their specific area of operations. In this context, it's especially important to remember the benefits of controlled optimism.
While digital solutions can save time, increase efficiency and allow your business to become more agile, an overly ambitious plan for implementing them may easily lead to delays and complications. Starting a switch to several new digital systems in a short time frame, or implementing especially complicated platforms without enough training for you and your staff, can ultimately create more problems than benefits.
A reasonably optimistic approach involves taking a realistic view of your current operations and finding ways to improve through digital transformation that won't create too much stress in the short term. Staggering the introduction of new systems, identifying technologically adept employees to help others work through the transition and similar actions still represent an optimistic view of your company's capabilities. But these considerations must also take into account the complexity of implementing new business systems, and the potential for issues to come up.
This concept can be applied to many different areas of business planning. Be realistic. Keep your business's limitations and weaknesses in mind along with its available resources and strengths. Build a plan that addresses common issues that may arise – and set positive, meaningful goals that you have a reasonable chance of attaining.
Being selectively and effectively pessimistic
A generally negative attitude isn't a great quality for a small-business owner. But a little pessimism at the right time and directed to the appropriate place can help companies make better decisions. Entrepreneur highlighted the value of a less rosy view of the future when it comes to contingency planning. If you can identify potential problems your company realistically might face and then plan around them, you'll be in a better position to work through them if and when they arise. An overly optimistic business owner, on the other hand, may not anticipate facing any significant problems at all.