Who do you want to be when you grow up? What are you going to do after you graduate from school? We’re all very familiar with these questions. It seems that throughout life, people want to know your plan. Whether you are a business owner or employee, you should be asking these same types of questions, creating and building a strategy for the future of your company. The only way for true growth is by creating a business plan each year, evaluating and measuring the performance of your company.
To succeed in business, you must be laser focused on growth and the initiatives to carry out that growth. How are you going to grow? The first things to acknowledge are strategy numbers. What are your businesses sales? Dive deep into the metrics of your company. Review what sales you did last year, what number you are trying to get to in the coming year and what does that pipeline of sales look like to accomplish that growth and close the gap.
You can create a simplistic business plan that incorporates all kinds of growth focusing on existing clients, new business within vertical markets, acquiring the competition and expanding. With this 30,000 foot view of your business plan in place, now you must address the tactical side. You’ve identified where you can grow, now think about the activities you have to incorporate on a daily basis to acquire actual growth. And these activities must have deadlines. Without a due date for yourself, you’ll start to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” and for the most part, tomorrow never comes.
Once created, your business plan needs to be front and center and should be something that you look at every single day. This way, you’ll know your numbers and can visualize the roadmap to success you’ve created with the destination in sight. Keep your plan simple. Complex strategy to reach unreasonable goals will go to the wayside.
When should you create your business plan? In the fourth quarter, start to take inventory of the year. At this point you should have a good feeling for where your business is going to finish for the year. With that knowledge, you can start predicting and forecasting for the next year. Take your time when creating your plan and ask yourself these key questions when constructing:
• Where is your attrition coming from?
• Any business on your plate that you are losing?
• Where did your growth come from this year and can you repeat that?
Responsible and successful business owners will know their numbers inside and out, and are able to forecast accurately. Creating a business plan for your company will allow you identity where your successes are coming from and create opportunity to repeat that success in others areas.