The basics of successful business planning


One of the keys to good planning is figuring out what you can do to positively impact the success of your business. It’s about being prepared to adapt, to keep researching and learning from others, and understanding what needs to happen in your business to build a solid foundation. Here is my ABCs of business planning:

To evaluate

Before deciding on areas for improvement in your business, it is important to know where you are now. The four main areas I recommend focusing on are:

  1. Finance
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales
  4. Operations

Understanding your profit and loss, balance sheet, budget, and cash flow will help you determine proactive strategies you can implement to impact your bottom line. Especially during tough times or economic uncertainty, it’s good to assess your income, inventory, and fixed expenses to make sure you’re not spending unnecessarily.

Marketing is all about educating and communicating with both your existing customers and your potential customers. Who are your top 20% of customers, who is your target market, and what problem does your business solve? How do you communicate this message? If people don’t know who you are or what you do, they can’t buy from you!

Third, do you have a documented sales process in order to be consistent, efficient, and to continue to build relationships and trust? How can you change your systems to make the process transparent for your customers? The easier it is for people to buy from you, the higher the chances of conversion.

Finally, your operations. What does your current customer service plan look like? How often do you consult with your clients and what do you do to take care of them? Retaining a customer is much easier than getting a new one, so it’s important to constantly place deposits in their emotional bank account so they know you love them. In fact, the main reason customers leave is perceived indifference (they don’t think you care!). Whatever product or service you deliver, make sure it is delivered seamlessly with the best possible service.

B. Believe

If you have a clear vision and mission for your business, you will be able to believe in what is truly possible, and this will be the common thread that guides your organization’s success.

Your business vision is the long-term future of what you want your business to achieve, and the mission statement describes what your business is all about, what it offers, and how. This should be clear to your prospects, customers, suppliers, and your team (to help engage their hearts and minds).

Your team is your greatest asset; it is your people who will help you support your vision and mission. The clearer your team is about your vision, the easier it is for them to believe in the future. What do you do to make sure they feel safe, secure, valued and valued? Maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your team about what success looks like means they can be excited about their role as part of the company’s success plan.

C. Change

Your business model for success needs to be clear in your head, before any changes are implemented. Has your business model changed due to COVID (for example, have you changed your delivery method or reduced your team?), And what needs to be changed in your plan business to make sure you consistently achieve your goals?

Have your customers’ problems changed? Have you adjusted your post to reflect the changes? How many inbound leads do you need and how will you improve service to your customers? What are your team’s billable hours and how do you track their performance? What are your profit margins? Are there ways to change your margins? Can you be better than before? How to be better than your competition?

Learning from what has happened in the past, testing and measuring and looking ahead to identify your gaps and opportunities, I recommend that you spend at least a full day every quarter to reassess your overall business model and make sure that you are clear on your formula for success. If you don’t know what it is, it won’t happen.

Suzzanne Laidlaw is an internationally accredited business coach.

The ABCs of Successful Business Planning

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Last updated: July 13, 2020

Posted: July 13, 2020

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