Step 1 – Start With A Business Plan.
There you have it! We’ve heard it before but how many readers can honestly say they’ve created a comprehensive plan for their business? The first step in any successful business is to develop your idea. It really is that simple.
The business planning exercise will help you decide where you want to go. The plan itself will show you how to get there AND give you a schedule! Simply put, the business plan is your road map to success. How easy is that?
Step 2 – Do A Marketing Strategy.
A business plan without a marketing strategy is crap! Yes, I said ‘crap’! Many people become confused when ‘experts’ talk about a business plan and a marketing plan as separate documents. A business plan that does not include a marketing strategy is a financial forecast without meaning. The data may as well be pulled out of the air. Numbers are great! You can add them, subtract them, multiply and divide them. But, after doing all that what will you have? Just more meaningless numbers. Now, to be fair, ratios and calculations performed upon financial data will tell you a great deal about your venture. However, it is the marketing strategy that makes projections real and relevant. To illustrate, ask yourself how many sales a business would have if the owner didn’t tell anyone he/she had opened.
Step 3 – Revisit, Review & Revise.
Great! You’ve got your plan and it includes a fine marketing strategy. Now what? Many people simply ‘file and forget’. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Using our road map analogy, this action (or inaction) is akin to reading a map prior to taking a trip to Timbuktu, putting it away before going and then making your trip from memory! Not only must you consult the plan regularly, but it is essential to compare your expectations with actual results. And, since most of us are unable to predict the future with 100% accuracy, you must evaluate and update.
There you have it. Three simple steps to success. Well, there is one more thing. Have somebody review it. No, not a favourite relative. Seek an objective viewpoint. Someone with business management expertise. In fact, having several people give feedback is ideal and will be the difference between a mediocre plan and an exceptional one. Or, if you prefer, the difference between succeeding and failing.