I’ve noticed that many companies of all sizes in our industry don’t have a business plan, which is one and the same as having no growth plan. Without a business plan, you’ll likely flounder, hit a plateau or waver up and down around a certain revenue point. If this is happening to you, it doesn’t mean what you are offering isn’t good; it’s just too loosely organized.
A good strategy takes a lot of thought. The first questions to ask yourself are: what are you passionate about? And what do you really want to do for your customer? I don’t care how large or small your organization is; if this piece is missing you’ll have a hard time moving your business forward. Achieving growth takes commitment and drive.
When you’re passionate or committed to a good way to truly serve your customers you can move mountains. And no, you don’t need to have deep pockets to do this. Plenty of people have built empires from nothing.
Once you’ve defined your passion, you’ll know who your ideal customers are. Then consider what these customers will want in the long-term and where technology is headed. Marry these into a vision of where you can take your business over the next three, five, 10 years or even longer. I’ve been told that the founder of Sony had a 50-year business plan that the company is still executing! Sure, your plans will morph and be tweaked. But without a vision, a strategy and a target audience you’re not in control of your direction and thus: your results. The better you are at the above the more competitive you can be. Don’t be afraid to think big. And if you’re a conglomerate don’t be afraid to focus.
Next, design the process you’ll use to execute your plans. Define the products and internal systems to expedite your business goals. Processes are critical to your success and require ongoing monitoring and revisions as this is where your variable costs lie. Here too is where companies interfere with their own success as pennies become more important than outcomes. This is not where you cut out your costs of doing business. This is where you manage costs and efficiency, spending to increase your efficiency and to expedite your goals. Investments are often the avenue to success.
If you find that you get stuck after all this work, go back and review your processes before you change anything about your plan or your people. If things aren’t working you need to ask yourself if there is something you didn’t invest in or something you’re doing that’s in the way of your results and fix these first. It’s too easy to blame others for the things we didn’t own up to. If you find that you’re changing people, but nothing is changing, then yo u own the problem!
With a good business plan, you know who to hire, as you need people with defined skills and knowledge to execute specific tasks. And you need to communicate your goals with everyone on your team, too. Success is a team sport.
Once you’ve developed your plan, you’ve essentially positioned your company and you can tell the world who you are and what you do for whom. We do X for XYZ companies, in these markets, this is how we do it and this is the value of what we bring to you, Mr. or Ms. Customer. Now your salespeople have something to talk about other than widgets. Widgets are only as good as the value they bring to a customer.
Now you can develop your website, sales sheets, and tell your prospects why you’re the right choice for them.
Perhaps this all seems too simple or too complicated! But I can assure you, without hesitation, that the companies who are growing by leaps and bounds are doing so this way. They have a compelling growth plan that serves their prospects which they’re executing for those prospects. They’re managing their growth and their success though their plan.
Success is rarely, if ever, a random event. Take control of your growth and your results with a good business plan.