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Three Important Points to Include in Your Business Plan

Business plans are a prelude to success, and failing to create one is a mistake that too many small businesses make. Not only can a great business plan help you achieve success by driving your efforts in a more calculated manner, but it can also help you gain the funding that you need from either banks or investors. Of course, there are as many business plans as there are individuals, and as such many business plans fail to capture all of the key elements they need to help their business succeed. To help you achieve a good business plan that will help you succeed, ensure you include these three points:

Market Analysis

If you do not conduct any market analysis, you are failing yourself as a start-up. You need to know not only who your competitors are, but who your local competitors are, and more importantly what the local consumers are like. If you open up your business in an area that has very few members of your demographic you are doomed to fail from the start. There are two kinds of market analysis you need to conduct as a result. The first is into the industry itself; who are the main players, what technologies do they use, where can you fit into that market, and so on. The second market you must analyze is your customers. Know who they are and what they want so that you can market to them more effectively.

Ensure Your Practice Adheres to Applicable Laws

Every business is subject to laws and regulations, from how they work to how they manage their data. It is important that you include how your company is not only going to excel, but also how it is going to excel within the parameters of the law. With law firms, for instance, Redbrick Solutions offers consultancy to ensure your firm complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) if you work with or within the EU. This, in turn, will allow you to offer more security and assurance to your clients as a result.

To ensure your company does comply with the laws that regulate it, you must first ensure you know what those laws are. Contacting a consultancy law firm or hiring a specialist in your industry can help you know the laws that apply to you and teach you how to adhere to them.

Budget

When it comes to creating a business plan, budget should always make an appearance. Without accurately understanding where the money will be coming from and where it is going, you cannot make any guarantees for the success of your business. You need to do cost analysis and prove to either investors or to yourself that you can survive until you get your first few clients in through the door. Either through savings or through money-saving activities like managing the entire business by yourself until you have enough income or notoriety to hire someone else, you need to know how you will pay for your business.

Never underestimate the power of a good business plan. It can help you circumvent easily avoidable challenges and see your business succeed.

How to make a business plan and actually stick to it

Whether you are a long-term small business owner or just starting in a complex market, then there’s no time like the present to start penning your latest business plan. However, writing a plan and sticking to it are two very different elements. No matter the size or nature of your business, it’s always good to get something down on paper to help drive your business decisions and check that you have all bases covered. From generating more sales, to getting those ideas off the ground, read on to find out why you should be making a business plan, and more importantly, how simple it is to stick to it.

Check out the competition

Whether you are opening a coffee shop, a new bookstore or even a consultancy, be sure to undertake a full and in-depth market analysis. Now, this doesn’t have to cost you too much – you can do the groundwork yourself if you know what you are looking for. Café owners will want to scope out competitors’ prices, unique selling points and even range of snacks and goodies on offer. Whereas if you are offering higher-end services or products, then you will want to make sure that your range has a serious wow factor. Be sure to include this step in your business plan to ensure that you are fully aware of how you want to direct the future of your company and roll with it – remember, it’s best to do your homework rather than blindly entering an established market.

Get your finances in order

Drawing up a business plan, no matter the size of your business, and actually sticking to it, is going to require having a solid financial base. Getting your application papers in order and lengthy approval times can spell disaster in today’s fast-paced market. However, times are changing. Companies such as Betterfunds offer a range of loans to meet your business requirements. Not to mention, you could be the happy recipient of some much-needed funding in a matter of hours. Having a solid cash income is key to getting your business plan off the ground – don’t cut any corners.

Marketing and sales

Be sure to include marketing and sales as key priorities for your business plan – after all, generating new leads and acquiring new clients is essential to you, and your business, to succeed. If you haven’t already considered it, then make sure to explore how digital marketing can help propel your company into the future. Social media is increasingly becoming essential to the success of companies worldwide, so don’t get left behind and do go digital. Secondly, you will want to check that your marketing and sales teams are working effectively together – just like two spokes in a wheel, these departments are key to helping you gain and keep new business opportunities. Finally, have another look at your business plan. If you’ve stuck to it – congratulations! You are well on the way to business success.

What Is the Best Mindful Business Strategy?

Mindfulness garners a lot of recent attention. Wisdom 2.0, a conference that blends mindfulness with technology, leadership, and culture, hosted over 2,400 participants earlier this year. Attendees come from all over the world to learn and engage in developing meaningful mindfulness practices.

A new area for mindfulness is how business strategies are developed. Strategy development and mindfulness are a great combination, and the best mindful business strategy starts with a simple concept – Be present.

Being present is a simple idea. However, many businesses are not present, especially when it comes to making a decision and moving forward with a strategy. The next generation of leaders are using mindful practices to gain meaningful results.

Strategically Stuck


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About the Author

Jon MertzJon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders. Follow him on Twitter @ThinDifference or Facebook /ThinDifference

The End Of Long-Term Planning

At the end of a particularly long and grueling strategy meeting with the executive team of a major consumer services business, Alan, the chief executive officer, turned to me and said, “Living quarter by quarter is madness, but in a few years’ time people will laugh at us for developing three-year plans.” He was right. With the pace of business change today, driven by technology and globalization, long-term plans last about as long as an ice storm in the desert. As military experts put it, plans rarely survive contact with the enemy.

Despite these new realities, many executive teams remain stuck with 20th-century approaches to strategy development. It is still common for companies to take six months or more to develop their new growth strategies. This prolonged, inefficient and largely ineffective approach — involving colossal data analysis projects, the creation of a series of 100-slide decks, and periodic executive meetings where directors are presented with findings and recommendations to comment on – may suit consultants looking to maximize fees, and even some executives who want to look as if they’re in control, but it does little to help businesses succeed in fast-changing markets.


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About the Author

Stuart CrossStuart Cross helps market-leading businesses such as Walgreens Boots Alliance, Masco Inc. and Aimia Inc. to accelerate growth. His new book, First & Fast: Outpace Your Competitors, Lead Your Markets and Accelerate Growth, is out now. Find out more at www.morgancross.co.uk.

Risk Management Best Practice 4 – Risk Quantification

StrategyDriven Risk Management Best Practice ArticleEach organization faces a unique set of risks challenging the continuity of its operations. All risks, however, are not equal. In order for an organization’s leaders to economically manage their business’s risks, they must first understand each risk’s inherent and residual value.


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