Crafting a successful business strategy for your small business requires time, effort and persistence. From first-time startups to experienced entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to determine the best course of action when it comes to steering a business. Here are five key tips to keep your business thriving in a competitive market.

 Keep Your Business Plan Flexible

Don’t create an unchangeable business plan and expect it to succeed. For small business owners, a business plan is always a work-in-progress and should be taken liberally in order to keep your business responsive. For some, this means to remove parts of your plan that aren’t working well. For others, it means filling in gaps where the original plan was unclear.

 Always Ask Important Questions

Learn the importance of asking timely questions. Too often a business is full of individuals convinced they have the right answer but ask a few questions. The right question at the right time can help set a successful course for your entire company. Don’t assume you have all the right answers but be willing to seek wisdom from others.

 Review Your Goals

As a small business owner, you’ll want to review your goals almost as soon as you write them. A business strategy needs to focus on the daily interactions of your company while still remembering the long-term goals and objectives.

Don’t spend too much time and energy on tasks with no objective. If your daily work doesn’t bring you closer to your long-term goals, you need to review your business plan and determine how to create a logical progression toward your intended outcome.

 Respond Flexibly to the Market

Entire industries change overnight. Once you feel you have a grasp of your business and your market, it’s easy to forget that change happens quickly. Keep an eye out for updates, changes and new directions in your competitors and your entire industry. Whether you need to alter your product, shake up your branding or target a completely new audience, keep your business ready to move at a moment’s notice.

 Make Bold Decisions

Once you’ve created a business strategy, confidently move toward your goals. Any startup is a risky proposition, so it’s important to make bold confident decisions. Companies who hedge their bets too often find themselves taking no steps forward. Take a step, adjust when necessary and continue to keep your business responding flexibly to your new goals and new problems you face.