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Small Business Minute: Is it time to consider the future of your company?
5/10/2005

By Brian Leaf

Parents raise children; entrepreneurs raise companies. Children grow up with dreams of what they’ll be someday. A small company’s aspirations depend on the vision and direction of its owner.

Your business may still be young, but what do you want it to be when it grows up?

The Service Corps of Retired Executives says that business operations, structure and goals should be based on your long-term and short-term objectives. Two key questions that SCORE says you should ask as you start envisioning your company’s future are:

  • Do you want to be an industry leader, or just be dominant in your local market?
  • And do you want to make a stable living, or make lots of money?

Honest answers to these questions will help you set the overall direction of your company. They may also help you find two or three viable short-term objectives for your business.

As you continue to clarify goals and objectives, compare your company with competitors. Find methods to measure your performance against reasonable targets within your industry or service area. Create action plans and timetables, including milestones and contingencies. Put everything in writing, and make sure you follow through.

Nothing goes as planned so you’ll need flexibility to tweak your vision. But with goals set and evaluation procedures in place, it will be time for you to enjoy watching your company grow up.

--Leaf is a WisBusiness.com contributor who writes frequently about small business issues. Contact him at leaf@wisbusiness.com.
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