A business plan is not just for start-up businesses or those looking for a line of credit.
The good boss knows every well-established business is constantly taking risks in this modern economy. Specifically, businesses on a daily basis are risking market share, finances, and their reputation in the community and industry. Social media has made this even riskier, because the actions of an entry-level employee can have significant impact as bad news can travel in nanoseconds.
So what is a business plan? First of all, it is not an overwhelmingly large document that is a huge ordeal to manufacture. Who has the time for all that paperwork? The business plan I am referring to is the answer to some critical questions every business owner should be asking himself regularly. Structured thinking and decisiveness will be enough to set the direction of where to apply the sweat equity in the business to achieve maximum success.
A business plan can keep a business from wasting effort in spinning wheels and not making any progress. Without a plan, burnout happens for the business owner, which slows down the entire organization. A business can become over-extended by scope creep without the proper resources to fund all the projects that have been taken on when a business plan isn’t in place to guide growth and add structure.
We all know the pace of business today requires leaders to act quickly and be decisive; however, it doesn’t mean we have to take a ready, shoot, aim approach.
What does your business do best? That should be an extremely easy question. It is also the answer to where your company can grow the easiest. Frequently, we witness companies trying to grow in areas they have no track record or expertise, and an epic failure is a common result. Are these failed leaders? Not at all, just because something is popular or a fad doesn’t mean that is your best sustainable growth opportunity. Do more of what you do best.
The good boss knows to create sustainable growth for her business she needs to focus on doing more of what she is great at while avoiding the distractions of “Bright Shiny Objects.”
- Make the most of what you already do well. Every successful business has a distinctive competence in the marketplace customers go to them for. Your business may not be the biggest or the most profitable in the industry, but it serves a niche where you are the customer’s choice. Your growth question here is: How can I sell more and grow my niche I serve?
- Define your distinctive competence and capabilities. Even if you can’t see them immediately, ask your customers to tell you. Why do they chose you over your competition? Every successful business has loyal customers for a reason. That is your distinctive competence. Your growth question here is: What are my capabilities for handing growth with my current circumstances? Do I need more space or more employees to be able to expand my capabilities?
- Have a coherent goal that can easily be understood. For some businesses, strategic planning is calculus. For others it is as simple as defining a destination and saying everything we do should be getting us to that point – otherwise, why do it? Your growth question here is: Does everyone on my team understand clearly what goal we are working toward?
- Dive deep into developing your strength capabilities. The new economy has driven businesses to be specific. Be great at one thing and dive deep into that one thing. Consumers no longer look for the broad menu of everything under the sun. They no longer believe a company can be good at everything. They want to do business with those they believe are the best at what they are looking for. Your growth question here is: How much deeper can I dive into what I am great at?