Why would I want a Business Plan?

time to transform my businessMany clients ask why they should invest all the time, effort and angst creating a Business Plan when it usually ends up in a drawer, sitting on a shelf gathering dust or as a doorstop to keep the office door open.

It’s a great question particularly when most financial institutions require and many business books say a business plans should be a multi-page document filled with ‘Strategic Objectives’, ‘cash flow projections’, ‘marketing positioning’ and a whole heap of gobbledygook that scares the bejeezuz out of us because we don’t really understand what we are supposed to do.

I like to help my clients simplify this whole process and suggest they look at a business plan in the same way they would regard an itinerary for an overseas holiday. With an itinerary we first we decide our destination. Next we work out the stops along the way, then we work out our budget and lastly we bring together everything we need to have a great time.

If we use this analogy for our Business Plan we more easily create a fluid working document that enables both you and the people around you to KNOW where you are going and why you are going there – as I said before, a bit like the itinerary you use when heading off on a trip.

So how do you go about creating YOUR Business Plan?

First and foremost, it is really important to write down a really clear picture of what your business is going to look like in the future – your destination. What kind of premises will you operate from, what kinds of clients will you see, do you have more than one location and if so where are they located, how much money do you generate in the business and how much do you keep for yourself. Allow your heart to guide you in this vision of your future.

Next, write down how you intend to attract the clients you are choosing to work with – think about the places they are likely to congregate, the magazines they read and the types of information they would be keen to hear about. This will form the basis of your marketing, advertising and promotional activity.

Next, have a think about the money side of your business – how much is coming in, what are your expenses and then work out how much is left over – your budget and cash flow.

Next, think about how you will treat your clients, what sorts of files you will have to keep and how you will manage your business. You may use computer systems like MYOB or QuickBooks for your accounts. Even if you are not comfortable with technology, you will still require some sort of manual filing and reporting system to understand and control what is happening with the money in your business.

Once you have done these things – you have actually created a business plan.

The last trick is to keep your Business Plan handy and to use it as a barometer for decide what you do next.

Naturally, new opportunities will arise, so refer to your plan and check to see if they fit with your overall business direction. If they do, include them in your plan. If not discard them and stay focused on your intended direction.

Lastly, we recommend that you find a good business coach or mentor to help you along the way. In our experience, they can save you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars by directing you into promotions and or time saving tools that are proven to work.

If you would like a handy template to guide you through this process simply request one through the Contact page on my website – www.TransformYourBusiness.com.au and I’ll happily send you one.

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WHY DOESN’T MY ADVERTISING WORK?

Every year squillions of dollars are spent on advertising yet quite frequently the message misses the market it is trying to address.

This is why many clients I mentor in small business initially say that they view advertising as a big waste of money – sadly with good reason in many cases.

To help develop a more positive approach, I tell them that a good analogy is to view advertising rather like a gun. In other words, it is NOT the tool that is bad – it is how it is used that determines the good or bad outcome.

So if we can accept that advertising is a just a promotional means that can be used appropriately or not – the question then is; how can we advertise in a way that brings us results? Read HOW to get your advertising working

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People = business, people satisfaction = MORE business…

Come on; put your hands up if you would like more business.

I suspect the majority of you have your hands up right now and I also suspect you think the people I’m talking about means customers.

My question is why would you think people only relates to customers?

No, this is not a dumb question and yes it’s obvious that all businesses require customers to make money and every business with an intention to grow or succeed requires a steady flow of customers through their door.

From the work I’ve done helping many businesses grow and develop, I’ve found the majority of business owners spend most of their time thinking and planning about how to generate more sales, more cash flow and more profits but very few think and plan HOW they are going to improve their people relationships.

This is the very reason I invite you to stop for a moment to ponder what a good friend of mine thinks about business – ‘business is purely about people connecting with people’ and think about whether the focus for your business is about transactions and money OR about building stronger and more powerful relationships with the people connected to your business?

Typically the response to this question is business is ALL about profitability and cash flow. So I ask a simple second question – where would your profitability and cash flow be without people supporting you or buying from you?

You see the whole reason for being in a business is to provide goods and services which offer solutions to a customer’s problem. That’s right, we are problem solvers not (despite the views of many) sellers of products and services, managers or administrators. Yet in my experience many business owners and their staff often see the people they serve as interruptions to their work rather than as their best, but often least respected business assets.

The other thing I have noticed when discussing people with small business owners is the focus is nearly always put on customers. Seldom is consideration given to the many other people within the business environment – e.g. staff, suppliers, delivery drivers, neighbouring traders, strategic partners and any other people their business interacts with.

Read how to turn your business into a customer magnet

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7 tips to ensure small business success

Over the last 6 years working with over 1500 small business owners I’ve heard a myriad of reasons about WHY people start a business but typically they boil down to one of 3 core reasons for embarking on one of life’s riskiest journeys.

Reason 1 (the most popular one) – running away from a bad work situation with the belief they can do it much better themselves.

Reason 2 – receiving a payout from an employer and buying a business which both sadly and frequently results in buying the lowest paid job of their career.

Reason 3 (the most successful one) – running towards a long held dream.

Irrespective of your motivation, I doubt you’re going into business with a desire for failure and I suspect you might welcome 7 tips that could enhance your chances for long term success.

Tip 1 – understand why most businesses fail to reach their full potential.

Tip 2 – know where you are

Tip 3 – know where you’re going

Tip 4 – decide your income

Tip 5 – tell the world

Tip 6 – manage for success

Tip 7 – get a Coach or Mentor or both

To understand what these tips mean – read the full article

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Marketing returns to the 16th century

Take a quick look back through your history books to the 16th century and you’ll quickly recognize that most people lived in small villages and seldom made contact with people from outside.

Obviously there was no electricity, telephones, public transport or other modern accoutrements back in that time which probably accounts for why most villagers seldom travelled outside of their village boundaries and when they did, it was slow and often arduous.

Typically any marketing activity revolved around the local village community and mainly happened in the local market square; the centre point of the village, the hub of commercialism and the focal point for many community relationships. Read more about HOW modern marketing is returning to the 16th Century

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