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Can you get your business over the 5-year hurdle without a strategy or a plan?

Lynne Rawlinson


Starting a business is easy. Getting a business past year one is perhaps a little harder. Developing that business into a long-term concern – something that will sustain your interest whilst providing financial stability – now that’s the hard bit.

I advocate that all business owners – whether embarking on their first venture, or managing a long-established company – take the time to freshen up their planning and strategy skills. The long-term benefits are huge.

Firstly the depressing bit. According to research published by the RSA Group in 2014, more than half of small businesses don’t survive beyond five years. 61% of small business owners admit to lacking the confidence in their ability to achieve sustainable growth.

What can be done to help?

Many owners of small businesses learn on the job. Their skills normally lay in supplying products and services to their customers, not in managing the nitty-gritty of a growing business.  Very often the owners lose focus as they are swamping by the demands of running a fast paced business.

This need not be an issue. With a solid strategy in place – one that charts the road ahead – the day-to-day distractions involved in running a busy business can be managed.

Creating an achievable plan to support this strategy is the next step. A plan should detail how to achieve the targets required to grow your business. It is also where decisions are made over who and what is needed to achieve the desired results.

It’s easy to write this down on paper. I accept each business is different, and their requirements for a strategy are unique. I do however believe that with some careful thought and planning any business can leap over the dreaded five-year hurdle with ease.

Attend our strategy seminar

I am keen to demonstrate how sustainable business growth can be achieved. To this end I am running a free-to-attend seminar at Leeds Business Week 2015. If you’re interested in refreshing your business management skills then please come along. It’s a friendly session intended as an introduction to the positive impact strategy and planning can make to a SME business.