As we enter a new year, it makes sense to feel a renewed sense of ambition for your business. Whether your industry enjoys a busy festive period, and you’re coming out of a time of hard work and high returns, or you’re preparing to resume normal life after a quiet Christmas period, it’s a good time to set some goals in stone and motivate yourself to move your business to the next level in 2020.

Fulfilling those ambitions is harder than deciding on them – just as setting up your business was harder than enjoying the killer idea that motivated you to do it! Today we’re taking a look at how you can start on the right foot and make sure you have the foundations in place so you can fulfil those ambitions.

Data and Information

Whatever your ambitions for your business, it’s important to base them in hard data and reliable information. This could mean talking to your investors and trusted advisors to get some insight from experienced veterans in your industry, or it could mean commissioning some market research to test the demand for the ideas you have and inform your plans going forward.

If your plans involve expanding your business abroad, then using market research agencies to compile a dossier of international research will help you to, among other things, target your ads efficiently in your new market, design marketing materials that will appeal to people in this different culture; and to navigate the regulations governing your industry and products, avoiding fines and penalties.

Moulding Your Ambitions to Your Brand

It’s important to fit your ambitions to your brand. Your brand is a key asset for your business: the sense of personality and identity that customers assign to it. It’s hard to build a strong brand, and it’s well worth making sure you nurture the one you have. It’s possible to undo a lot of good brand-building work by pushing your business in a way that’s inconsistent with your brand.

For example, if you’ve built a brand based on personal attention, and local expertise, you could successfully expand your business in a way consistent with your brand by opening a new branch in a nearby town, growing slowly and maintaining that focus on a small scale, expert business. Leaping immediately to the level of a national chain is inconsistent with the identity you’ve built up with your customers and it makes it harder for you to maintain that brand, and the trust you’ve built. Unless you handle it carefully, you could find your business struggles to maintain its existing customer base or draw in new customers if your ambitions conflict with the brand you’ve built.

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