7 Top Tips for SME Growth

Written on the 14 September 2014 by Sarah Cobb

Following Sarah’s presentations on strategies for SME growth as a speaker for the Australian Institute of Company Director’s SME Growth Workshop series through regional Queensland, Sarah would like to share her 7 Top Tips, which were confirmed by the majority of the case study businesses in the regional areas they presented to. She has added a checklist after each tip for you to evaluate your business.


  1. Know your goals – it is important that you decide on your goals (both personally and for your business) and write these down. For your business this needs to be expressed as a vision for your business, where you see it being in the future. Do not be shy, create possibilities and think big, but it must be something that you can be passionate about and that drives you. If you do not know where you are going, how will you possibly get there? Or by the most direct route?

    Written goals for personal and business? No / Yes
  2. Share your vision – now you know where you want your business to be going, you need to share it with your entire team. You, as the leader, need to inspire your team and get them behind the vision you plan to achieve for your business. They need to take ownership of this and live it every day in all they do. Ideally your vision should be one sentence or less, easy to remember, and you team should be able to say it at any time.

    Simple, written and shared Vision? No / Yes
  3. Plan for your future – now you have to plan how you are going to achieve your vision. Strategic Planning is the overarching long term plan you have for your business. This is the roadmap for its future success in achieving your vision – telling you where you are going and what are the strategies that you will use to get there. The normal strategic planning process involved:

    a. Setting your goals and vision (as above).
    b. Evaluating the performance of all aspects of your business presently (and be brutally honest). Cover items such as financial, operational, marketing, customers, systems and processes, employees.
    c. Evaluating the external environment of your business ( e.g. social, political, legal, financial, technology, green, global).
    d. Proceed to complete a SWOT analysis based on the above – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
    e. Identify your strategic options – built from your SWOT what strategies are available to you.
    f. Evaluating your strategic options – now evaluate the above, including against resources available to you, risks of each and how this may change the risk profile of the organisation.
    g. An external perspective during this process really helps see your business from a unbiased perspective; one speaker spoke about the dangers of passion – it obscures your rational judgment!

    Current Strategic Plan in position for your business? No / Yes

    Do you have an external perspective on your business? No / Yes

    Do you allocate sufficient time to do this well? No / Yes
  4. Set KPIs for measuring and monitoring – how are you going to know if your plan is being implemented, and more importantly if it is achieving your vision? You need to set KPIs to measure the implementation of the plan (i.e. what is actually being done to implement it and budget to actual on costs) plus whether it is actually achieving the vision you set – through measuring the performance of the business

    KPIs for current Strategic Plan in position for your business? No / Yes
  5. Implement your plan – nothing changes without action – IMPLEMENTATION is the key! A good plan never implemented will achieve nothing.

    Is your current Strategic Plan being implemented effectively? No / Yes
  6. Measure and monitor regularly – so is your plan achieving your goals, your vision? Measure and monitor its implementation monthly.

    Are you measuring and monitoring monthly? No / Yes

    Is your Strategic Plan actually achieving your vision, goals? No / Yes
  7. Review and adjust as required – review regularly (suggest quarterly) and adjust if this is required.

    Do you review and adjust your Strategic Plan quarterly? No / Yes

    If no, when did you last review it? No / Yes

So how does your business score?

If you would like to improve contact Cariblue for their 2015 Strategic Planning Promotion now!


Author: Sarah Cobb


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