Your Business Plan in 60 minutes!

by Stephany

Continuing the theme of our last article, dealing with overwhelm in your marketing.  Some of our friends at “Ladies Who Launch” enjoyed this article from A. Michelle Blakeley.  So I decided to share it as a guest blog article.

One of the quickest ways to re-group when you are overwhelmed in your business is to get back to your fundamentals. Being overwhelmed is a sign that there is a glitch in your system or worse, you lack a functional system. Something is off, and at the core it will be connected to your vision, purpose, priorities, target market, communication, management or some other business fundamental.

Going back to answering the “who, what, where, when, why and how” can provide you with interesting insight on where you started, where you are and where you want to be. It’s a quick way of seeing where you may have went wrong or deviated off course. When done properly, meaning digging deep, gaps and disparities will begin to appear. Take a close look at your business fundamentals by answering the “who, what, where, when, why and how” and see where priorities need to be re-aligned:

Who are you serving? Everyone is not the right answer. What is their demographic (age, gender, profession/occupation, income, hobby, etc.) You want to know who benefits the most from using your product or service. What is your industry background and how can those two elements cross paths? What does your ideal client look like and where can you find them?

What are you doing? What need are you fulfilling? The core purpose of your business should clearly answer this question in a short succinct paragraph.

Where are you? Are you in close proximity to your target market? Are you mingling in the same circles? If you are a virtual assistant, you don’t want to spend 90% of your marketing efforts and time networking and socializing with other virtual assistants. Go where your clients are and make it easier for them to find you.

When are you going to accomplish objectives and measure your results? You need to have timelines and deadlines. They help create a sense of urgency and they help provide checkpoints to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Without benchmarks and goals, how will you know your efforts are effective or efficient?

Why? What’s your story? Why are you doing what you do? What is your purpose? What is your passion? Know why you are doing what you are doing and understand how it relates to your principles and personal vision. Make sure it has meaning.

How are you making someone’s personal or professional life better or enhanced? How are you setting yourself apart from your competitors? No matter what you sell… product or service, it should be for the benefit of something or someone. It should be useful, relevant, time-saving, money-saving, better quality, better service, etc. Figure out what it is that puts you above the rest and maximize that strength. Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust.

Having a written plan helps you to stay focused on your priorities and offset information overload. What doesn’t apply to achieving your objectives, you can quickly disregard. 

Your business plan doesn’t need to be lengthy or burdensome. It simply needs to cover “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.” Answering these questions can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Not knowing who to talk to and where to go for information can hinder your ability to lay a solid foundation for your business. If your doors are already open and you’ve hit a wall and found yourself in a hole, the best way to turn around is to stop digging. If you are struggling with developing a simple and appropriate plan for your business, STOP the pressure!

We’d love to hear your thoughts (make a comment below) ~ How often should you/do you check in on your Business Plan?

 

About the author: For over 18 years, Simplicity Mastered™ founder and CEO A. Michelle Blakeley has owned or managed small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Expert in her field, Blakeley personally guides her clients out of their Business Brain Freeze™ to streamline operations, increase return on investment, and attain quantifiable results. Forbes.com and FinancialPost.com each recommended her as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, joining the experts who know that Blakeley is a master at growing small businesses … and doing it with “Simplicity.”

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