Tag Archives: Business Plan

Do You Have A Business Plan?

Every business needs a business plan, and even more so if you are bus planhome-based business of one.   You might think that just because “you are the company” and you know what the focus of your business should be, that would be enough.

Taking the time to think critically about your marketing, branding, operations, competition and the oh-so serious reality of financing is crucial to your success.  It’s been almost a year since I opened the “virtual” doors of my business, and like most people starting a small business, did not thoroughly do my own due diligence.   Would I change my decision?  No.  However, I have now have a more real picture of what my future can look like based on experience and having a wonderful support network. 

While completing your business plan, you need to take a long hard look at the realities of all that must go into operating a business:

  • Cultivating clients – are you a decent sales person?  are you good at networking?  can you stand up and sing your own praises?
  • Keeping the books – are you detailed oriented?  will you invest in QuickBooks or some other accounting software to track your expenses and income?  will you take credit cards – do you know the cost using that service?
  • Operations – have you clearly thought out the processes involved in your businesses’ operations (from order in through to billing and collections, if necessary)?
  • Marketing – how will you market your business?  do you have the technical abilities to keep up with social media, or are you prepared to pay for print advertising?  will it all be word of mouth – are you networking on a weekly basis?
  • Competition – do you seriously know your competition, beside Googling to see how many are out there?  how are you different from them?  is your competition successful – if so, why?
  • Financing – have you created a cash flow forecast to know when/if you will need to supplement your income?  can you pay for the necessary licenses, permits, legal and tax services?  will you want to attend trade shows and/or hand our marketing items?  will you need certain office equipment or software?  will you have to purchase inventory?

Even potential turnkey business owners need to take all these things into consideration.

Creating amountain climb2 business plan will help you understand the potential of your business, with all its opportunities and challenges, and will also allow you to be able to communicate that vision to others.   As your business moves along, you need to keep reviewing and updating your plan, and updating your goals and milestones.   Create goals for 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years as well, to make sure that you are on the path you envisioned and review these goals on a monthly basis.   If your path is blocked, create a new one.  The point is know where you are going, and to be able to see the results of what you have created.  It’s important to know the mountain you’re climbing, but is just as important to be encouraged by seeing how far you’ve climbed.  Success spurs success!

While it’s true that there’s nothing better than being your own boss, you need to keep in mind that there does need to be a boss who’s responsible for the direction and vision of your business.

There are many Business Plan templates on the internet that you can find.    Here is one I have used as my starting point and then tweaked substantially for my own vision.   Click here –  BUSINESS PLAN.

Happy selling for years to come!

Southeastern Admin  |  www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Marketing Focus

Thank you for the positive response from last month’s Newsletter.  To follow up, we thought we’d provide you with a Marketing Plan Template to help get you started on the path to great marketing and keep you focused.

Click here for your free Marketing Plan Template, and make sure to frequently check our blog and Facebook pages for more tips and resources.

YOUR MARKETING PLANMARKETING FOCUS
Your day-to-day business marketing activities are likely to be focused on communicating with potential and existing customers.     A Marketing Plan sets out how you will put your strategy into place and will help you stay focused.  Be sure that your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan are in sync.

Set Objectives, Budgets and Deadlines
An effective Marketing Plan must set clear objectives that will help you toward your long-term strategic goals.

Timing
Start by building a schedule by identifying key times of the year when customers plan the next year’s budget or seasonal purchasing peaks.  Examples would be Spring and Summer breaks if you run an auto shop, or Christmas if you run a gift basket business.  Time your marketing campaigns to fit with these dates and look for other opportunities, such as trade shows.  If there are significant gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-effective activities to help maintain customer awareness (newsletters, email or mailing campaigns, etc.)

If you rely heavily on a small number of crucial customers, consider developing individual account management plans for them.   Key accounts merit regular personal contact (phone calls, meetings, business entertainment, etc.).

Marketing Mix
In addition to marketing communications, your Plan should span the full mix of marketing activities.  An example might be developing new products and/or building your distribution network.   You will also need to plan for any price increases or tactical moves, such as an end-of-season sale.

Be sure to note in your Plan whether you intend to give your staff sales training or introduce new CRM (customer relationship management) technology.  Maybe you need to find more efficient systems or measure customer satisfaction.  Including activities like these in your Plan helps ensure that they are identified as priorities, and that you dedicate time and money to them.

Branding Considerations
Branding is more than your choice of corporate color, logo and catch-phrase.   Branding is best defined as your customers’ experience when they engage with your business, so it extends to such things as how you and your employees dress, how you greet your customers and email communication – the entire experience!

Think of branding in terms of a restaurant that you frequent. You go there because you know what’s on the menu, what it will taste like, what type of service you will receive, and how much it will cost you.   It’s the same for your customers.

Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to be sure that what you want to tell your customers about your business and your offer matches what your target customer segment wants, and what you can actually deliver. Successful businesses realize the importance of having a world-class brand and making full use of its potential.

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