Why You Need a Clear Plan for Business Success
Why do you need a clear plan?
Think about when you’re driving to a somewhere you’ve never been. Typically you get out a map or use your SatNav to ensure that you get to where you want to go in a relatively uncomplicated manner. You don’t usually just set out without any idea of where you’re going or how you’ll get there.
The same thing should be done when you start a business. Map out a clear plan, starting with the end in mind. Where do you see your business when it’s most successful? How can you ensure that you get there in a reasonable amount of time? What steps do you need to take to get there?
A plan will help you in three ways:
Achieve your business goals
Keep up with changes
Become a rallying point for your business – one you can share with your staff.
In order to make the plan, ask the following questions:
Who Are You?
This question really has two parts;
- who are you personally, and
- who is your business?
How you want the public (and customers) to view you as a business is important because it can inform how you proceed with every aspect of your business.
What Do You Offer?
It’s true that you offer something that can easily be named, XYZ service or XYZ product, but what you really need to answer is what solutions are you providing? Is it freedom? Time? Or something else? If you can answer that, you’ll be able to move your business forward faster.
Who Is your Customer?
Customer identification is an important part of owning and running a successful business. It doesn’t end once you figure out who your customer is because you will need to continue to study them over time. Try creating a customer avatar so that you can look at it and know exactly who you’re doing it for.
What Differentiates Your Offering?
Usually, someone else is offering something like yours or close to it. But, there is always something that makes yours stand out from anyone else’s. What is that thing? How can you emphasise the thing that makes yours better, different, or special?
How Will You Deliver It?
It’s important to know the means by which you’ll get your product or service to your audience. Without knowing that, it will be difficult to succeed in your business. Work out these plans in advance.
How Many Do You Need to Deliver for Success?
One thing many business owners forget to do is figure out how many widgets they need to sell (or hours if you’re in a service business) to break even, and then how many to be successful. When you know this answer, you can break that down to how many a day you need to sell. That then helps inform the rest of your plans.
What Is Your Timeline to Profitability and Success?
Once you know all the other information, it will be easier to determine how long it will take for you to be successful. Knowing that you can start from the date you want to show your first profit, going backwards and entering in the actions you need to take each year, month, week, day and even – if you wish – hour of your day.
How to work it out with a SWOT Analysis
One of the tools I recommend you use to help you answer these questions is a SWOT Analysis. Conducting a SWOT analysis is a simple step that serves as an important part of your business’s foundation. SWOT analyses are simple but comprehensive and this is why they’re commonly included in business and marketing plans.
A SWOT analysis is a 2 x 2 matrix. Strengths are listed in the upper left quadrant. Weaknesses are in the top right. Opportunities are listed on the bottom left and Threats are in the bottom right.
The left-hand column has factors that are helpful in reaching your business goals (Strengths and Opportunities). The right-hand lists factors that are potentially harmful (Weaknesses and Threats).
The top two quadrants include internal factors (Strengths and Weaknesses) and the bottom two quadrants include external factors (Opportunities and Threats). Ideally, you want to work on converting your Weaknesses and Threats into Strengths and Opportunities.
As a result of answering these questions seriously, you will easily be able to create a workable daily plan of action. You’ll have planned your route and know your final destination. Before you know it, you’ll be successful because you have a clear plan.
If you already have a plan, why not comment below on whether and how it’s made a difference to your business.
If you need help to develop your plan, just get in touch and we can have a chat.