Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Whether you are looking to improve your existing business or start a new venture all together, the question you should be asking yourself is, “what’s the plan?”
Follow these steps to ensure a healthy and productive plan that is the best fit for you and your business:
- Keep Your Vision Alive! Summarize the goals for your business in one to two pages. Where do you see yourself two to three years down the road?
- Remember What You Do. It is important to remember your business’ foundation. Writing down what your company does is a good way to ensure you’re staying on track.
- How Are You Marketing? Be specific. Provide detailed numbers that describe your past, present and future marketing strategy.
- What Are They Doing? Keep your competition close. Write down what your competitors are doing, how they are doing it and how they have done. What are their advantages? What are yours?
- We Want You! Provide a specific map of what customers you have and what customers you want. Be specific (Why they patronize you? What do they like? Where are they? Etc.)
- Forecast (Plan for Sunny & Rainy Days) List a month-by-month projection of your business in the coming year.
- Are They Performing? Time to look at your batting order and evaluate what each employee is doing to help your business. List your ‘designated hitters’ here.
- What Are You Bringing To The Table? List personal financial statements of all owners and major stockholders here. It is important to know where your money and decisions come from.
Once you have a detailed summary of your company, it is time to review and execute. Look at what you have done, where you are going and where you want to be.
Small and large businesses alike are realizing the importance of creating a focused, applicable and realistic business plan, and how they can bring business to the next level.
The business world is full of ups and down, smooth patches and heavy turbulence, so as your company pushes on, it is important to stick to the basics and follow the plan. Before you know it, your business will be smooth sailing.