This time of year often has people think of new beginnings, often about their personal life. But what about your business?
Spend some time thinking about what you want for your business this year. Maybe even update your business plan, or create one if you don’t have one. Amazingly, studies, and my own observations, show how few people actually have a business plan. I’ve seen this for people with their own businesses and even within big companies – they take the corporate plan and just extrapolate down or follow it. This might not work and it might not really drive your commitment to your role and the side of the business you oversee.
The basic elements of a business plan are:
Executive summary – This should include your business aims, financial summary, your elevator pitch/tag line/unique selling proposition and business summary.
Who are you? Your background and distinctiveness. This is especially important for entrepreneurs and I suggest important for corporate leaders as well from a “profile building” perspective.
Your product/service – Outline what your product or service actually is, and this part should ideally include the fundamental level of what benefit it provides.
Your market – Think about who your customers are, where they are found, what prompts them to purchase, what factors helps them choose, and how to differentiate between new and existing customers.
Market research – What have you learnt from your most recent research and what would you like to learn this year?
Marketing Strategy – What is your strategy, how are you going to do it, why are you going to do it that way and how much will it all cost?
Competitor and SWOT analysis – Look outside yourself and your business for a better view.
Operations and Logistics – How do you make and deliver what you do – is there anything new compared to last year?
Costing and Pricing – What’s the best for your offering, your customer, your market? Make sure to reflect on the competitive and SWOT analysis and determine your profit.
Financials – This can be cash flow, income versus expenses, sales versus costs depending on your business, andultimately what you projections are for the year, including the risks and upsides.
Back Up plan – What’s your 'Plan B' if some of the key factors don’t materialize as you expected? What if your biggest client halved their business with you? What if your costs doubled?
Not all sections are required for every business. It’s really just an excuse to think – take time to contemplate what your business is, where it’s going, and how to get there?
Anne Taylor is an executive life coach in London, focusing on helping your to reach your potential in confidence and success in the work place. For more information please call 02031516830.