Planning a new business can be difficult. Managing plans for a growing business can be equally as challenging. The key to successful business planning lies within these 7 tips for successful business planning.
Make sure that your plans and goals are simple and attainable. Keep your plans paced in a scheduled manner and build them to be scalable. Starting simple doesn’t mean starting to plan without substance. Simple plans can be just as powerful and effective as a more complex solution.
In project management, a simple technique is utilized by PMP’s called the waterfall model. Essentially, the waterfall model begins with one objective and then flows into another upon partial or full completion of the prior task. Using this model could help create simple, action-based items that yield positive results, but also have necessary measurable constraints to help manage your progress.
Know Your Competition
Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, unless you’re creating a new market, you’re not the only person in the world who provides your products and/or services. Your company is unique and defines your value ad, but your products and services are most likely not as unique.
Understanding your competitors is essential in successful business planning. It will allow you to learn what you could be doing better and what you may be doing better. As an example, if your competitor has offered a promotion that seems to have created a buzz in the community, it may be a good idea to learn more about it and see how you can mirror a similar offering.
On the other hand, you may hear horror stories from new customers about their experience with a competitor of yours that makes you realize that what you’re doing is working. Either way, it’s imperative to know your competition.
Know Your Audience
Who is your audience? Have you identified the customers you serve or the customers you’d like to acquire? When conducting successful business plans, identifying and knowing your audience is an essential factor. You audience demographic, or the determining factor that describes your audience, is the most important and must be optimized in order to fully understand how to market to existing and potential customers.
As an example if your industry entails manufacturing ballpoint pens, it will need to narrow its audience to the users who would be potential ballpoint pen purchasers or promoters. A purchaser could be a department store chain, such as Walmart or Costco, while a promoter could be a paper manufacturer such as HP, Boise, or Office Depot. How would you market your ballpoint pens within and to these two customer audiences?
A company such as Costco would be interested in bulk, B2B product packaging, where as Walmart may be more interested in B2C product packaging. Your promoting company, such as Office Depot, may want to jointly promote your ballpoint pens to accommodate their paper and create an advertised, jointly-branded bundle. This may require unique packaging and a price point as well.
Understanding your audience will help you create a more calculated business plan for new customer acquisition that could be the most attractive solution for their needs.
Keep Your Financial Projections Conservative
We all love to dream. It’s ok to admit it. When dreaming about your business goals while planning, successful business planners always make conservative projections. A common rule of thumb is to take away roughly 10% of your estimated profit and build your business plan and budget around the remaining amount.
This is extremely important and embraces the principal of you understanding that the unexpected happens. That’s right – life doesn’t always work out the way we plan it to. Keeping your financial projections at a conservative level will allow for your to anticipate scope creep within projects or failures in business as well as within the economy.
In the words of George Patton, “A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.”
Don’t Make Empty Promises
We all want to promise our employees, staff, and customers the world. We care and want to make sure that if they ask for it, we will deliver it. In a different light, it’s better to make promises to any individual that you can actually keep than “naming and claiming” promises that you can’t.
When planning your business strategy, promising investors, staff or customers that you will achieve or create something that more than likely won’t happen doesn’t do you any favors. In fact, it ruins your credibility and can seriously hurt your business.
Speaking of empty promises, consider the power of brand trust. Brand trust is simply the concept that a brand is known for what it promises; but the word “promise” is actually something that they’ve delivered on and can be measured. Let’s take GEICO for example. GEICO’s brand promise is, “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance”. It’s been supposedly proven that most customers do actually save around 15% on their car insurance when they’ve switched to GEICO; hence GEICO has a solid brand promise. Right?
Right. So, when considering your promises within your plans for new or existing business consider what your brand promise is within your plan and stick to it.
Transparency Is Essential but Should Be Used Wisely
As business owners, it’s very common for us to want to keep many of our “secrets” hidden. As a restaurant, you may have a secret recipe, or as an anti-virus software manufacturer, you may have constructed certain programming that makes your product stand apart from its competition. These types of ‘secrets’ should be hidden; and rightfully so.
The types of essential transparency issues we’re speaking of are the facts, data, and information pertaining to the health of your organization that are usually not spoken of. Successful business planning lays all of it’s cards on the table. Presenting past failures is essential in demonstrating how you will recover lost profits or opportunities and build on your company’s expanding needs.
So many organizations are obsessed with hiding their failures, when instead, they should be transparent with their organization and learn to grow from them.
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So How Do I Create the Most Successful Business Plan?
If this is your first rodeo, it’s always best to work with a seasoned professional or team or professionals who understand how to create successful business strategies. If you’re a tenured veteran in the business world, consider consulting with a colleague or friend and ask them to objectively examine your proposal or plan.
Elevare stands apart from its competitors by offering the most effect, realistic, and action-based marketing and business development plans in the industry. We know what it takes to achieve success in marketing and business and want to show you how your business can thrive on positive results.
Contact us today to learn more about setting up a consultation to create a successful business plan and begin creating your plan for success. You can also fill out the small form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.