Plan for Profit in 2008 – Here’s an Easy 5 Step Method by Kevin Stirtz
This time of year business owners, executives and consultants are (or should be) spending time looking ahead. We should be thinking what we want for our businesses in 2008.
But we all know many people fail to plan. There are as many reasons for this as there are (or used to be) hairs on my head. I used to think the biggest reason was time. Not anymore. I think the biggest reason people fail to plan is they’re not sure how.
Whatever you call it, strategic planning, business planning, year-end planning, it sounds important. It also sounds like a lot of work. It looms large as a big, complicated responsibility that a lot of people are not sure how to do.
So, to help you get started and have a successful planning session this year, here is an easy yet effective system you can use.
It’s focused on getting and keeping your customers. Some people might think this is too narrow. I think it’s perfect because if you’re focused on getting and keeping customers then everything else will fall into place. Your customers drive your business so they should also drive your planning.
1. Clarify your mission
What does your business do for you (how does it make your life better)? What does it do for your customers (how does it help them get what they want)? What business are you in (product, service, industry or profession)? And finally, what are your measurable objectives for the next 12 months? (Revenue, net profit, growth?)
2. Identify your best market
Your best market is people who want what you do AND whom you can serve better than anyone else. It’s not enough to know who wants what you do. You need to focus on those you can serve best based on the resources and competitive advantages of your business. That enables you to serve them so well they come back and they tell others.
3. Create your message
How do you tell your market what you do for them? What can you say that they will want to listen to? Make it about them not you. Without a good clear message it will be much harder to attract enough customers to have a sustainable business.
4. Commit resources
Decide how much you will invest in helping your business meet the objective(s) in step #1. Measure this in time as well as money. Make it realistic but make it a stretch too. You don’t grow a business without making an investment.
5. Make it happen
Pick three ways you can deliver your message to your market based on the resources you’ve committed to investing. Then implement them religiously. Focus and concentrate your message on a group small enough so you can connect with them multiple times throughout the year. Track what you are doing and monitor the results. Build a process so you can see what actions (inputs) helps you achieve your objectives (outcomes).
Then follow Kevin’s Golden Rule: Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
About The Author
Kevin Stirtz helps businesses get more customers. Visit him on Twitter: @kevinstirtz