Having a business plan is a roadmap to success
If you don’t know where you are going, any road is fine. But if you are planning for success, taking the right path is critical. A 2015 business plan is an essential roadmap for business success.
Business plans differ, depending on the individual details, but there are some basic general concepts that apply to most businesses. Several important planning steps are required. This article will highlight these key steps.
Describe your company
Your business description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves. As you develop your written business plan for 2015, include:
Describe the services and / or products that your company provides
Describe the customers and markets your business is targeting
Describe the problems your business solves for your customers.
Describe how your products and services meet the needs of these customers.
Describe the competitive advantages your company has, such as its location, knowledgeable staff, efficient operations, and ability to solve problems.
Describe your target industries and customers
Describe in which industries your potential customers operate. List the main customer groups within your industry. What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Are those needs met? Can you meet the needs of your customers?
Shrink your target market to a manageable size.
Many companies make the mistake of trying to attract too many target markets. Remember, it cannot be everything to everyone. Select your goals carefully.
Describe your revenue and sales goals for 2015
Realistically, based on past performance, what gross income (sales / commissions / fees) can you expect?
Describe the customers who will provide the revenue.
Realistically, based on past performance, which customers do you expect to bring you the revenue? Explain the logic behind your calculation and conclusions.
Describe your communication strategy
How are you going to reach your customers? Consider using a combination of the following tactics: promotions, advertising, public relations, personal selling, and printed materials such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, etc. Decide which one works best for your business. You cannot afford to use them all.
Describe your fees, commissions and pricing structure
Plan in advance where, when and to whom you will charge what prices. Avoid getting caught up in offering unnecessary discounts and concessions.
Describe your financial projections
Are you going to seek external financing? Do you have adequate internal funding? Develop your financial projections after you have analyzed your marketing goals for 2015 and set clear objectives; that’s when you can allocate resources efficiently.
Make sure your 2015 business plan matches your funding availability. Be sure to acknowledge the business assumptions you have made in your projections. Monthly, check actual business results with your projections and assumptions. Identify the causes of missed goals. Make monthly corrected assumptions and projections. It’s much better if you catch mistakes early, before they cause damage. Planning for a successful 2015 is a one-year ongoing project, not a “do it once and forget it” project.