Monday, May 19, 2014

Daily planning

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that in several small operations.

     When your banker asks to see your business plan, there is no need to panic. Business planning is not difficult. You do it all the time.

     It's all about customers--present and future. Customers are the foundation of your business. Today's customers and tomorrow's customers tell you where you are headed. The business plan puts this into narrative and numbers.

     Pay close attention to your customers. Get to know them. Get to know how, what and when they buy products and services. Find out what else they want--how you might better serve them.
This takes careful attention.

     Example: A printing operation can lose additional sales--unless customers are continually reminded of all the other services the company can provide. Customers tend to settle into thinking that the printer is only a printer--other services, like design, mailings and special bindings--might be ignored unless the capabilities are often mentioned.

     Keep on top of who your customers are, what their needs are, and where they are headed. A customer who is planning to buy a new home will have lots of needs. If the kids are headed off to college, or getting married, mom and dad will surely be involved and have needs. 

     Engage your customers in conversations to learn more about them. You can uncover opportunities that won't otherwise come to light. 

     Then, when your banker asks for your business plan, you will have done some of the legwork necessary to put together the marketing section. All those conversations you've had with customers can be woven into the fabric of future market expectations.

     Make this a part of your daily planning. If you haven't talked with one of your customers every day, count that day lost. 

     Questions? I retired when I turned 75. You can email me at with your questions. Put BLOG in the subject line so I won't delete. Answers from my 40+ years founding and running small businesses. Your privacy is always respected.   

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