If you have a business plan, and if you’re in business, you should you know that it is a living, breathing document, right? You should review your business plan at least monthly to make sure you are on track with the goals you’d set and that you’re bringing in the income you had planned for. Think of your business plan as a “desired state of mind/business” as compared to your “current state/comfort zone” this may help you more fully and finely focus your efforts.
Here are my two best kept secrets for a successful business plan:
Name the new state of mind for your business plan. What does that mean? “Customer focused” or “increase use of technology.” What ever state you choose should have a metric to help you understand what “customer focused” or “increased use of technology” means to your business and to its profits.
Identify the activities you will have to perform to achieve your new state of mind. Does it mean you need to bring in X number of new customers, better use and follow up with prospects via your CRM technology? Remember to keep your goals SMART — strategic, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-sensitive.
Once you have looked over the business plan and chosen an area on which to focus your new activities and state of mind, talk with your team and your sales force. They need to buy in to your new plans in order to help them work. You need to align your people and your processes to assure highest success.
If you’re fearful — whether of success or failure — you will find you’re spending most of your day spinning your wheels.
What can you do to put our finger on what you’re afraid of? How can you move past fear toward achievement? Here are a few of my suggestions:
Refocus. Maybe you’re too busy selling and not serving your clients. Maybe you’re trying to be everything to everyone. Focus your efforts. It could be a feeling of overwhelm that is freezing you in your tracks.
Fear of the unknown will freeze you on the spot. Having a business plan and working that plan will help you move forward without fear.
Focus on your core competency and build a team of professionals to help you with what you’re not well-versed in.
Surround yourself with a support system of professionals. Join a mastermind group. Find a mentor.
Be a risk taker. Sometimes you just have to be willing to experiment and take a risk on having it not work out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Managing and taking risks is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur.
You got into business for yourself to be a success, right? If that’s the case and if you’re struggling, maybe you need to take a step back and look at the basics. Here are my three habits that I’ve found highly successful entrepreneurs share:
Prioritize. You cannot drift along hoping for success. There has to be a written plan in place. Your priorities will keep you on track and will keep you accountable. If you’re working your priorities, you’re bound to succeed.
Build a great team. Whether it’s the staff you hire, the attorney you work with, the virtual assistant who oversees your projects or the mastermind group with whom you associate, you need to surround yourself with great people.
Communicate. Whether you operate a virtual business or brick and mortar, you need to master effective communications with your staff and clients. Every communication, whether on the phone, by email, or in person, should have a well thought out purpose and be clear, concise, and complete.
Work on incorporating these habits into your daily business routine and you might just see your success rates increase. What do you find is a habit that helps you succeed?
Do you remember the Pet Rock? If you do, you remember it was very popular at one point, but now it’s gone the way of many widgets and other business ideas that just weren’t sustainable. Not every business can be Facebook, but you can ask yourself questions to see if your idea is a viable one.
Here are some starting points.
Is your business idea a good one? Harken back to the Pet Rock. Ask yourself this:
Is there a need for the goods or services you’re offering?
How much competition is there?
Do you have the skills and expertise to make your business viable?
Are there any trends that could make your idea more, or less, viable in the future?
Do you have the income to support yourself while you launch your idea?
Do you have the know-how to launch this business? Having an idea is one thing, launching is something entirely different.
How will you make sales?
What is your comfort level with providing customer service?
What do you need to launch your product or service?
Will you need to store product or find someone to make your product?
Where will you market the product and find customers?
Can you make a living?
If you’re not making a living, your idea is a hobby
Know how much it costs to deliver your goods or services
What is the anticipated demand?
Where will you sell it? Online? In person?
How long do you anticipate it will take to see a profit?
Do you have a support system in place?
These questions will jump start your business planning process. They will also help you formulate your written business plan — a necessity for business success.