As a business owner, you need to be focused on the future. The market today is more competitive than ever before, because increasing globalization and the rise of the Internet have led to workers, suppliers, and entrepreneurs from all over the world facing off. That makes it more important than ever to refine your mindset and prepare yourself for the future. In this post, we will talk about some ways to develop a strategic mindset
suitable for the current competitive environment.

Making Time
The first thing you need to do is set aside time to let yourself make plans. As a business owner, it is very easy to get caught up in the day to day work of actually running the business. That makes it especially difficult to create a strategy for how to respond to your competition and what your goals should be for the medium term and long term. Those are important questions for your business, however, and putting them off is detrimental to the viability of your business plan. Instead, you need to start setting aside an hour per week to seriously consider what you want to do. Think about how you want to cultivate more customers, what you can do to inform your audience about your brand, and what kind of new products or services you might want to bring to market. Consider this time an investment in the future of the company. This does not necessarily need to be time alone. You can take a team building seminar and learn with your staff.

Set Goals
The next thing to do is outline some basic goals you want to meet. Mix some concrete, medium-term goals with more abstract long-term goals. For example, your medium goal could be to boost Facebook engagement by 30 percent, while your long goal is to make social media an important source of new customers. That gives you direction to focus your efforts for building growth. It also ensures that when you have some downtime and are not sure how to best spend your time, you can always fall back on working on your goals. These goals will also help you direct your day to day operations. There are many ways that you can build growth, so it is important that you choose one and commit to it so that you can get started down that path.

Consider Costs
One last practical matter is to periodically step back and evaluate your costs. One of the biggest reasons businesses fail is that they are vulnerable to falling into non-profitability when their costs increase unexpectedly, or they hope costs will fall in the future and they never do. You can also learn about ways you can reduce your costs by finding new suppliers of inputs. Even if it is not related to your goals, be on the lookout for cost-saving opportunities. These are critical for focusing your strategy on the bottom line. It is easy to get carried away in matters of R&D, marketing, and so on and lose sight of the bottom line, so this grounds you and helps you grow.

If you follow these tips, you will quickly sharpen your ability to reason strategically about business opportunities and form plans for the future. That ability is your foundation for growth. Combine that with the fundamental business plan you are using, and you will be well-equipped to handle whatever the global market throws at you. Part of strategic thinking is the balance between flexibility in the moment and a commitment to goals, so understand the importance of both and you will be on your way to success.

Author's Bio: 

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.