Skip to main content

WNC Business

Finding the right strategy for your business

Feb 03, 2024 08:53AM ● By Randee Brown

New strategies for business success seldom arise; rather there are many old strategies that people don’t use because they either don’t know about them or they have forgotten about them, according to ActionCOACH Bill Gilliland.

When businesses plan for their year, it’s always best to start with knowing the numbers, then figuring out goals, then determining the strategies that will help reach them. A yearly comprehensive business plan will provide the right strategies, and according to Gilliland, it’s best to keep it simple. 

As the market and the economy will continue to change, the ability to react is crucial. According to Gilliland, inflation is here, and interest rates are likely to stay the same. 

“There is a new generation that has never seen inflation,” Gilliland said. “These business owners still have to keep up employees and maintain growth, and their business needs to be able to accommodate that. We are full steam ahead in 2024 in the WNC market. It’s strong, and largely dependent on several sectors — healthcare, tourism and hospitality, and outdoor recreation. People’s disposable income won’t be changing too much and things should stay similar to what we saw in 2023, but it could all change at the drop of a hat.”

Many business owners are still struggling with finding good help. No matter the kind of person a leadership team is looking to hire, the process of finding them is similar. Gilliland often asks leaders how much time people are investing in the hiring process, and how much they are spending on doing the actual work of their business. Small- to medium-sized businesses spend approximately 20 hours a week looking for staff when hiring, and larger businesses, typically those with 75 or more staff, often have human resources staff to exclusively search for new hires.

“The problem is easing up a little, but it’s really marketing,” Gilliland said. “You have to speak to your target audience just like you do when speaking to your clients or customers. You still have to use systems to find good employees, and having a hiring philosophy is important.”

Businesses should remain flexible in strategies used for growth. If one strategy was used to reach a particular level, a new strategy may be necessary moving into a new phase. If a certain strategy isn’t providing the necessary results, the business will have to determine when the time is right to move into a new strategy altogether. 

To determine an effective strategy, Gilliland suggests starting with foundational basics like basic levels of customer service, cash flow, and time management. Discovering the business’s niche, outlining consistent and repeatable systems, putting together a team, and eventually finding who can be put in charge to run the business for the owner are all challenges involved in realizing the best strategies for success.

“There can be 400 to 500 strategies that are possible, but the right one depends on where you and your goals lie,” Gilliland said. “Every one can’t work for everybody.”

Testing and measuring strategies is always important, according to Gilliland. If a business implements three or four strategies that are tested often, the best strategy will eventually come to light and will make up for the ones that don’t. Testing and measuring strategies requires some level of analytics knowledge, so outsourcing these tasks to a bookkeeper or administrator may be helpful.

Determining how much the business is paying to attract each customer is a good starting point for this type of analytics. This helps to figure out if things are actually improving and by how much, and what the return on the business’s investment actually is. As many strategies like social media and email marketing have analytics built into their platforms, Gilliland said it is a mistake not to measure these strategies.

“How you make the best use of your facilities and finding out where they can improve is important for each business,” Gilliland said. “Take a couple of days to do your planning for the year as early as possible. If you don’t plan, you’ll just be reacting, and that’s not always helpful.”