You don’t need to be Shakespeare when it comes to writing a plan for your business. I’ve heard it all over the last couple of years and here are some of the top reasons why business owners haven’t committed to taking this critical step for their business.
“Why do people keep banging on about a plan? I don’t need one.”
“I’ve got one, but it’s in your head. I don’t need to write one down.”
“I don’t have time to write a plan.”
“What’s the point? I won’t use it!”
My response is a simple one. It might be cliché, but businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail. Small Businesses already have a high failure risk, and then business owners increase the risk exponentially by not having a plan in place.
By putting a plan in place for your small business, it will not only give you a much clearer picture of where you want your business to go, but it will also give you a clear understanding of where you’ve been and where your business currently is.
A plan doesn’t have to be a huge, cumbersome or lengthy document. It can be brief notes or a few pages, just providing you with an outline.
Another important thing to remember is that you don’t have to follow your plan ‘to the letter’. You don’t have a crystal ball into the future, so use it as a ‘GUIDE’ and be nimble enough when things change.
What should you include in your plan?
- Product / Service Overview – Understanding exactly what your service or product you sell is important. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone, be specific.
- Who is your customer – No, this doesn’t include ‘everyone’. Sure, you’d like to sell your product or service to the world, but by being realistic and specific will help you to define your message and how to communicate with your customers.
- Competitor Analysis – So often, businesses forget to look at their competitors. Who are they, what are they doing well? What are they doing poorly? Gathering this information can help you be a step (or steps) ahead of your competitors and possibly even provide you with an opportunity that you weren’t aware of. Know who they are because it’s likely they’re doing the same with you!
- Review your previous results – By reviewing and understanding your previous results, including advertising, sales history and website traffic, you’ll be able to understand where your customers have come from, what they did and didn’t do. By reviewing your marketing and advertising results, you can also see what worked, and what didn’t, and understand how you can improve this for the coming year. (Hyperlink to ‘reviewing your results’ BLOG)
- Goals – So, you’ve laid the foundation to the plan, now it’s time to set some goals. Looking at your previous results, what do you want to achieve in the next year? Do you want more traffic to your website? More sign-ups to your newsletters? More followers on Instagram? Sell 10% more products and services each month? Be specific here and make sure you add a deadline or timeline to each goal. EG. 200 new followers on Instagram by the end of the year
How to get started?
It’s never too late to start your plan. You can get started with the outline above or even visit your State Government website for the free templates they have available.
You plan doesn’t need to be a lengthy novel, but just something that you can check and review on a regular basis.
TIP – By adding a timeline, you can add this information to your calendar so you can review the results to see how you’re going. If you’re achieving or not achieving these results, then you can review the plan and adjust.
Want to know more?
Still not too sure where to start or just have questions? Get in touch today for a no-obligation discussion or have a look at our Image Marketing Plan template.