Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Plan every day

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business.

     Business planning is not difficult. You already do it all the time. 

     Planning is all about customers/clients. No matter your business, the future depends on them. Customers/clients are the foundation. Today's customers/clients tell you where you are. Tomorrow's tell you where you're headed.

     A formal business plan puts all this into perspective. It's what you deserve to have in hand before you make a big expansion move. It's what your banker wants to see when you go for that expansion loan. 

     Writing up a business plan begins today. The most important part of your plan is your present customer/client base and how you plan to expand to include more.

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

     The same applies to the direction in which you're headed. What new base of customers are you targeting? How, what and when will they buy the new products and services you are thinking about offering? What else might they want?

     Examples: You are a chiropractor, and you're getting questions from present clients about the benefits of seeing a massage therapist. You run a restaurant, and you're getting requests for gluten-free preparations. You operate a small print shop, and you're asked for a referral to handle small mailings. You have a yoga studio, and people are asking you to recommend a nutritionist. You are an attorney, and you get a call asking for a recommendation for someone to handle a worker's comp claim. You are a landscaper, but can you build a patio? You can troubleshoot and repair my computer networks, but can you help me with social media?

     All these examples are clues to possible expansions of small businesses. These clues come from customers/clients looking for products and services to better serve their needs. And they can point the way to your expansion.

     Clues come to you almost daily when you're in small business. Don't dismiss these clues. They are valuable planning initiators. Does the question trigger a possible expansion direction for your business?

     Expansions can be as simple as adding a new line of products/services. Or you can decide to go off in a completely new direction. Either way, take a hard and in-depth look at the market that will support the new line or the new direction.

     Seeing to your planning every day can be of enormous help when the time comes to write up a formal business plan. You already do the daily stuff. Now it's all about the future market. Put the daily stuff together with the future market and you're ready for the banker when he asks to see your business plan. 

     Don't go all wobbly when you're asked for your business plan. You plan every day. It's now a matter of pulling it all together and matching it with the future market for your goods and services.  


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