Utah State

Growing Your Business

Counseling

Talking to one of our certified counselors is always a good place to start growing your business. You can do that online by clicking this link, Online Counseling. Or you can make an appointment to speak to a counselor face to face by clicking this link, Face to Face Counseling. All counseling is free of charge due to the support of our partners.

Vision

You wouldn't hop in your car and just start driving without a defined destination so, why would you do that with your business? What do you want your business to be when it grows up? That's the company vision. If you haven't developed a company vision you won't be able to create a strategic plan to get there. The Vision Statement gives direction. Will it include exports? Do you want to increase market share? How about specialization vs. diversification? Try to do it all at the same time and you will fail. Write out your Vision of what you want the business to become and discuss it with a counselor here at the Utah Small Business Network. You can become a client through the pull-down menu above and, all counseling is FREE!

First Things First

Or, I guess second, right behind defining what you want to get out of this process by creating a vision statement. Now that you have defined where you want to go you need to analyze where you're at. Planning a route in your car requires a starting point and a destination. You defined the destination in your Vision Statement now let's define the starting point with a SWOT analysis.

SWOT

The first thing you need to know is that a SWOT analysis is neither easy nor quick. We recommend that you contact your SBDC for counseling in this area at the pull-down menu titled "Counseling" in the menu bar above. If you want to give it a go feel free to download the SWOT analysis spreadsheet in the box to the right. Here is the basic idea...

 

Through a SWOT analysis you should be able to determine where you are at and which of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats should be priorities or safeguarded.

Financial Analysis

The next thing to do is a financial analysis. Again, we would emphasize that this is not easy nor quick and we advise you to seek counseling at the SBDC through the Counseling menu at the top of the page. Managerial Accounting is much different than bookkeeping. in this type of accounting we aren't as concerned about whether there is a profit or loss as much as we are concerned with why or why not. There are many calculations and ratios. The download file has the most common ratios. They include...

 

Now, once you have calculated your financial ratios, you will find that on their own, many of these ratios don't really give you much information. For example, you calculate Inventory Turnover and you find that it's 58 days. Is that good or bad? Well it depends. If you are selling jewelry that's probably very good. If you are selling bananas, it's definitely very bad. So, what do you do now?

The next thing to do is compare your ratios to industry standards or averages. Where do you get those? Well, I'm glad you asked. Becoming a client of the Utah Small Business Development Center Network through the "Counseling" menu at the top of the page will give you access to those numbers. You may also try internet searches or your local banker.

Strategic Planning

The next step is to create a strategic plan to move you from where you are at to where you want to be. As I've said so many times before, counseling is available from the SBDC free of charge, even if all you need to do is bounce some ideas off someone. Strategic Planning isn't so much a step by step process as it is an art form. Take all the information we've discussed on this page and look for ways that you can use your strengths to take advantage of an opportunity or a competitor's weakness.

Stick to your knitting

Know who you are and what you CAN become. You will never out Wal-Mart a Wal-Mart so don't try. Compete in other ways. Look into specialization and diversification as well as premium pricing and cost-leader strategies. There are too many angles and options for us to discuss in any meaningful way here so... give us a call. We're glad to help.

Exporting

One area you may have overlooked is exporting. Today the internet and local shippers that take your package world-wide make it possible for anyone to export on some level. See the link in the "Downloads & Links" box to the right for more information.

 

 

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