3 Secrets to Build a Solid Business

As a new or aspiring business owner you need to live by the old saying, “Fail to Plan—Plan to Fail”.Person Drawing Success Words on Glass Board

Pretty simple really. If you plan on building a successful business, whether from the ground up or from a stagnant start, you’ve got to put pen to paper and make some plans. Follow these three “secret” plans and you’re well on your way to a successful business.

SECRET #1: Strategic Plan—This is your road map. Strategic plans are an ongoing process designed to provide a foundation for a businesses’ strategies, short- and long-term activities.

Strategic plans will include goals and objectives highlighting planned achievements relating to the business and its customers in the near-term…say within a year.

A strategic plan includes key strategies that will identify what success will look like in the future and plans that outline major programs with specifics of who, what, where, and when, and how.

SECRET #2: Marketing Plan—No business can survive without sales (unless you’re a government then you survive on taxes). Using direct marketing methods and today’s media, business owners can develop direct marketing plans that can exponentially grow business. Most importantly the marketing plan will help you identify your marketing environment:

Can you describe your demographic trends, relevant technologies, supply and other forces that can impact your business? Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs define this as the microenvironment of the marketplace.

How about the competition? If you subscribe to Glazer-Kennedy style marketing, competition doesn’t really matter…if you don’t then you may want to know who the competition is, their size, market share, spending, etc.

Identify your target market. Take the time to identify and articulate in your plan market demographics, psychographics and geographies. Get this group’s needs and wants on paper.

How’s your production? Will you be able to keep up with increased demand? A problem any young business should want. BUT not being able to deliver your product or service in a timely manner could lead to poor customer relations and hurt you over the long run.

Finally for your marketing plan, what testing and research are you planning to use to forward your marketing plan?

SECRET #3: Business Plan—Normally written to attract investors, it’s a great way to define your business and answer the question, “If I was an investor, would I invest in this business?”

Key elements of a Business plan will include:

Your company’s Vision and Mission Statements.

A market analysis including competitive analysis, your most likely target groups, and may even include market share.

Customer analysis answering the question of who buys your product or service, market size, demographics, psychographics, etc.

You can use the business plan to define your business; doing so will help you define your industry, growth potential, trends, and emerging technology.

If you’re writing the business plan to entice investors you’ll include an integrated marketing and sales plan. If this business plan is an internal business tool, you can skip this and include this in your marketing plan.

The business plan is a great place to spend time looking at your projected profit and loss statements over a one, three and five-year period. Take time here to detail your cash flow both inbound and outbound over this period of time and KNOW definitively when you can expect to make a profit.

BONUS SECRET: SWOT Analysis—Do a SWOT analysis on all three plans; business, strategic, and marketing. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT analysis helps you identify the good, the bad, and the ugly in your three plans.

Use these 4 secrets to put you and your business on a firm foundation for business growth and success—now go forth and get those plans done!

(For more information about these three types of plans and SWOT Analysis see Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs.

Here’s to your success!

Do you already use these three plans for your business? Let us know what you think—comment below!

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Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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