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    Planning: Creating a sustainable business


    You’ve come up with a fantastic business idea, pinpointed your target market and want to get everything up and running. Or maybe your existing operation isn’t running the way you want. Before you go any further, stop and think about your company’s structure and branding.

    Existing business owners need to regularly remind themselves why they established the business in the first place. After all, inertia can be a formidable foe.

    Having a clear goal when you start your business will ensure you are always working towards your desired end result.

    Too many people starting a new business or running an established business don’t think about where they want to take their business. They don’t formulate an action plan that will enable them to retire and/or sell their business.

    You wouldn’t build a house without having an architect create a design. So why do so many new business owners invest their valuable time and money without having a clear idea of what the business will look like when complete?

    Planning for a successful business is not just about having an eye-catching logo and savvy brand attributes. It’s also about the structure of the business and the direction you want it to go.

    There has been an increase in demand for three-dimensional brand development that looks at how the business communicates its core values and how closely these are aligned to the customer’s values.

    One of the major traps many businesses fall into is the belief that because they are busy now they don’t need to do anything to continue to grow. Smart operators recognise that change is inevitable and that it is important to reassess and adjust this plan regularly.

    A major orthodontic practice we have been working with realised that they had structured their business without designating anyone to be responsible for ensuring that they continue to tell dentists and the community about their services. You can’t sit back and wait for customers to come to you in a competitive marketplace. You have to remind them why they like your business and should continue to use you.

    Once these steps have been considered and your business is up and running, your exit route will be so much easier to manage.

    John Hunt is managing director of Catalyst Exhibition Design + Marketing. Over the past ten years, Catalyst has created new and rejuvenated existing brand identities for the Australian Dental Association, Colgate, Gunz Dental, 3M ESPE, ADIA and many other organisations.

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    Good business tips:

    1. Create a vision for your business.
      • Who are your customers?
      • What are your values?
      • What role do you want in the community?
      • What staff do you want?
    2. Develop an organisational chart.
      • Work out all the necessary positions
      • Create job descriptions that are based on achievable, results-based outcomes
      • Ask yourself if this model is sustainable
    3. Create a name, logo (symbol) and positioning statement.
    4. Determine the stationery, marketing materials and other resources you need to get your message out to your current and potential customers.
    5. Systemise all your administrative, operative and training procedures.
    6. Plan for the end at the beginning.