Last week, I shared with you the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. How did you use the customer experience to attract loyal clients who will become champions for your business? Referrals are just one of the strategies that will catapult your business to the next level.
In addition to referrals, you must know the most important business strategies that will keep you ahead of the competition, which is YOU. Remember, nobody can do what you do. The key is to outperform the YOU that you were yesterday. You can do that by implementing the business strategies below to help you LEVERAGE UP.
PLAN for the Journey
A business plan for any business will change over time as the business develops, and any business may have multiple business plans as its objectives change and the business grows. If your business is static, you’ve likely made the mistake many business owners make by thinking of a business plan as a document that you create in beginning phase and then put it aside. It is quite risky to begin a business without one and should not be something you do to simply check off the box.
“If you fail to plan; you plan to fail.” Without a strong business plan to guide the goals of your business, you’ve placed the cart before the proverbial horse. You have a destination in mind for your business, but you will need a roadmap (business plan) and a guide (Dr.RickG.) to get you there. A business plan will help you think through issues and understand problems your business may face. It serves as a short-term plan that will enable greater accuracy in completing the action steps to achieve your key initiatives.
Here are just a few reasons why you need a business plan:
Set your business on the right course for SUCCESS Developing a business plan will ensure you focus on the operational and financial objectives of your new business, along with the details, such as budgeting and market planning. You will experience fewer unforeseen problems as you define your target market, implement pricing strategies and outline a plan for delivering your products or services.
Dry-run or test your idea. A business plan is the optimal manner in which to test your business idea. It will help you determine if you should proceed as planned or to go back to the starting gate and make some changes to your product. The business plan is your safety net and can save you a great deal of time and money if working through the business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable. Often, an idea for starting a business is discarded at the marketing analysis or competitive analysis stage, freeing you to move on to a new (and better) idea.
Business planning made easier. Not only is a business plan non-negotiable for new business owners, it is also essential for established business owners. Viable businesses are dynamic; they change and grow. Your original business plan must be revised as new goals are set. Reviewing your business plan will help you determine if your goals have been accomplished, what changes may need to be made, or what new directions your company's growth should take.
Branding and marketing are integral components of your business because it is how your
client views you. It is their emotional connection to the products and services you offer. In today’s interconnected technological world, there are more channels to reach people, but good communication and content are key. You must take the time to understand your customer and consider how your customer reacts to what you’re saying. Despite short attention spans, smaller screens and limited time, there are more ways to interact with your clients because the digital world enables businesses to track results and see customers’ behavior and how they are reacting.
The importance of a strong strategy as a foundation for any marketing effort must be focused on objectives and targeted to customers you’re trying to attract. Social media can be a tremendous asset to any business by building a network of followers, friends and supporters it can count on, but there must be value provided in the relationship. It can be a successful marketing tool if you’re contributing to a dialogue or adding value to what you’re offering in the marketplace, but it can be harmful if your content has no value. While this approach can foster and continue a relationship, it is no substitute human interaction. Relationships and trust are necessities — and they are best built face-to-face.
By partnering with me, I can help you create the type of brand and image that will not only magnetize and energize satisfied customers but will establish loyal ones who will become advocates for your business. The results I provide through web design and content creation have yielded proven results for my clients.
OPERATIONS PLAN for Ground Zero
One of the things I’ve learned in the 20+ years since I began my entrepreneurial journey is many business owners are trying their best to manage prospective and current clients, tweaking products and services, updating their websites to remain competitive, and running at the speed of light to retain good employees and pay their bills on time. And don’t forget social media adds even further demands. In all of this, they are missing the bigger picture—the Operations Plan. The operations plan is the waypoint between where your current location and your destination. It should be updated frequently and detail your business’ goals, strategies and processes. Another way to think about an operations plan is the how-to book for fulfilling the objectives of your business. A lot of small businesses don't have one and that's a mistake.
Many businesses begin with great ideas, but as they go into the market and gain traction and sales start accelerating, operations don't keep up. Eventually your business begins to experience cash flow issues, customer satisfaction issues, missed deadlines for product delivery, or simply poor quality of work. An operations plan will cover strategy and support processes, such as human resources, payroll and accounting, to protect a business in case of a leadership change or acquisition. It provides a blueprint for running the business from the front to the back.
Do you have an operations plan? If not, how’s that working for you? If so, how’s it working for you? Either way, I’d like to meet with you to share my successful approach to operations planning. It is a three-step approach that addresses your current state, your future state and the key initiatives your business will want to manage next. Rather than documenting the day-to-day processes, I work with my clients toward a high-level, sustainable document.
Operations may seem like the ugly stepchild compared to the glamour of marketing and the product or service your business provides, yet, operations is the lifeblood to any business. It is just as critical, if not more so, than sales because the sales may not happen without an operations plan. Some businesses are moving too fast and have gotten comfortable doing business as usual. Businesses must continually probe and be prepared to shift with the times. That’s where I come in.
I am your brother in growth, and I am here to help you and your business LEVERAGE UP.
If you haven’t already, you may purchase your personalized copy of my book, Navigating the Entrepreneurial Journey” at my book store. Customers have described it as an “MBA in a box” and a “road map” to guide you up the mountain to success.
Each Wednesday, I will be posting tips to help you enhance your business. Talk to you next Wednesday & HAve a blessed and productive week!!!
I have a plan with you in mind.
Your brother in growth,