Many business owners (especially those with a non-business background) struggle when it comes to creating a strategic business plan for their business. Chances are they’ve never ran a business before, and even in their “employment” days were not involved with the day-to-day business management.
So when it comes to running their business they struggle!
“Still need to figure out (sit down and actually learn) how to do this!” said one business owner to me earlier this week.
They have a dream for their business, are an expert in whatever it is they do, but have no idea how to take that idea/dream and turn it into a viable and profitable business… so they continue in a state of overwhelm and frustration, with a slow growing business.
Spending some time planning all of your business activities is crucial if you are to succeed long-term. It’s not just about planning your business – you need to understand the strategy behind what you’re going to be doing. And you also need to understand how all the different pieces of your business fit together to create one coherent business.
Today, I’d like to share with you my simple, 3-step process, for sitting down and crafting your own strategic business plan.
PLAN – schedule some time in your calendar to work on your business plan. Some people opt to take a mini-retreat away from their office. It could be spending the day in your local coffee shop, or actually going out of town for a few days. Or you could just schedule one or two hours and sit quietly in your office planning out your business (that advantage of doing in your office is that you have all your business information right there with you). Whatever works best for you is going to work best for your business. But the important thing is, you to schedule in the time to create your plan!
INVESTIGATE – what is it you’re going to be offering over the coming 90 days; 6 months; 12 months? I like to have a loose 12-month plan, but then have a very specific 90-day plan in place. It’s much easier to focus and implement with a shorter time-frame than it is to do so over, say, a 12-month period. Sometimes planning out so far ahead can feel overwhelming. But it is important to have that “big picture vision” in place so that you know where you’re heading.
Also when you’re deciding what it is you’re going to be offering ask yourself, “Does this make sense? Does it fit my big picture vision?” This is where understanding the strategy behind your business comes into play. It’s no good deciding you want to do a live event, or offer an online training course, if you don’t understand how this fits into your “Big Picture Vision”. All paths must lead you to that “Big Picture Vision”.
EXECUTE – now that you know what it is you’re going to be offering and when, it’s time to put that plan into practice. One thing that I do in my business is “reverse engineering”. I always start with the end date in mind and then work backwards. For example, if I’m offering a 4-part live training class on a specific date, what do I need to do to promote that training class, and when. It’s much easier to plan out the promotions if I work backwards from the start date of the class. That way too, I can see if I’m leaving enough time for the promotions or if I need to adjust something in some way.
So there you have my simple 3-step process for creating your strategic business plan. No go ahead and create your own!
(c) 2013 Tracey Lawton
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