Thinking long-term can help future-proof your business

By Scott Gardiner

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Knowing your goals is an advantage when the unexpected happens, writes MYOB executive director Scott Gardiner.

Being adaptable means having a long-term strategy, anticipating challenges before they happen, and being able to keep your eye on the big goals when things get difficult. Photo / Thinkstock
Being adaptable means having a long-term strategy, anticipating challenges before they happen, and being able to keep your eye on the big goals when things get difficult. Photo / Thinkstock

Working on your five-year plan

As you think about the year ahead why not plan for the next five? As we've seen from our research over the last few years, businesses that are able to adapt to new challenges, from the high dollar to rapid growth, are able to perform the best in the long-term.

Being adaptable means having a long-term strategy, anticipating challenges before they happen, and being able to keep your eye on the big goals when things get difficult.

Where do you want to be?

To start forming a plan, it's good to start by asking yourself where you want your business to be in five years. What are your goals and the milestones you need to reach to achieve them?

In the next five years, could you see your business expanding into a new market, or setting up offices overseas or around the country? Or maybe you'd like to retire or sell up your business to move on to your next venture.

Understanding the options

Whatever the goal you are working towards, the great benefit of a long-term plan is it lets you think through the issues that might stand in your way, and allows you to address them early.

For example, if in five years you are hoping to see your business expanding into overseas markets, it's important to think about what the market you are looking to expand into may look like in a few years. Will there be a lot of competition? Will the local economy be struggling or booming? Will there be a lot of tax or compliance legislation that could make it difficult for you to get established and compete? Similarly, planning for growth even on the domestic front means coming to terms with potential future challenges. For example, if over the next few years you would like to diversify the range of products and services your business is able to provide, will that mean taking on more staff? What sort of human resources challenges would that throw up? Does your business have the expertise available to handle more complex staffing issues?

Plan for the unexpected

If the tumultuous last few years have taught us anything, it's that no plan is going to be 100 per cent future-proof. However, when the unexpected happens, knowing where your business is going, what your goals are, and being able to navigate around the challenges you can see coming will be a huge advantage.

- NZ Herald

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