Do You PLAN to Succeed?
by Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
Running a business is non-stop planning. No matter what type of business you operate, your success is influenced by how well you plan every move you make.
Even before you begin your business, you are making plans for it's start-up phase, and for it's long-term growth.
A Business Plan is the first big plan you make for your business. Written in the third person, the business plan outlines (described here in basic terms) what you have when you start and what you think you will have after certain amounts of time. It also includes what influences each step along the way. Now, that's not to say that it is a guessing game, although it can feel like it sometimes. A business plan requires an abundance of research and good old-fashioned planning.
Each individual aspect of a business plan also requires some forethought and continues to need ongoing attention throughout the life of your business.
From choosing who will be your target market to recognizing who your competitors are, the plans for approaching these factors begin and determine how you will proceed and succeed.
Another essential plan that will help contribute to your business' success is your marketing strategy. Planning how you will spread the word about your business is an ongoing necessity, which can sometimes be easy, and other times it can be a challenge. You need to take into account who you are targeting and what they will respond to. Consequently, you will have to decide when is the right time to put each plan into action.
Sales planning is also an important aspect contributing to your business' success. Knowing and tracking sales numbers should be something that every business owner should follow. By this I mean that you need to be aware of the five primary numbers required to help you achieve your annual sales forecast. These 5 primary numbers are:
1. The number of leads it takes to find a potential client (prospect).
2. The number of prospects it takes to get an appointment.
3. The number of appointments it takes to secure a presentation.
4. The number of presentations you need to make to close a sale.
5. The number of sales you require to reach your sales goal.
Time management is one of the most important plans you should follow in your business and it should be a daily task. Keeping track of meetings and such is important, but in order to make every day productive, you need to decide what you are going to do and, if possible, when you are going to do it.
Most business professionals rely on a day-timer in which they schedule their meetings. But, day-timers are also an excellent place to jot down your other daily activities. For instance, designate 9am to 10am to read your mail and email and respond to those that require immediate attention. Then, from 10 to 12, you may want to pencil in making cold calls, from 12 to 1 is a great time to take your assistant to lunch, and so on until your day is planned.
There are other areas of your business that need to be planned ahead as well. Meetings you are involved in and presentations that you need to perform should always be thought out first in order to ensure they run smoothly and efficiently.
Attending networking events should also be planned. Just showing up isn't going to cut it and won't help bring in new business. I am amazed at how many times I have been to a networking event and when I asked someone for their business card they said, "Oh, I forgot to bring any". Why bother showing up to a specified networking event if you don't have the tools to network? Always, always bring a stack of business cards. Also, plan to bring some of your brochures and/or other marketing materials. Some events will have tables set up to display your marketing materials. And, remember to bring enough to hand out freely to everyone you see and talk to.
One of the most effective plans for ensuring the success of a networking event is to develop a mini-appiteazer. This is your 10-second infomercial of your business and how your product or service can benefit the person you are talking to and others that they know. If you are unsure of the protocol of the event, contact the coordinator to find out if this is simply an opportunity to chat and network one-on-one with others or if there is a designated timeslot that you have to highlight yourself and your business.
As you can see, planning is an integral part of any business' success. Putting into action as many plans as possible can contribute to your organization's growth and will create positive exposure of your business.
Now, you need to remember that not everything will go according to plan. Things will pop up, unforeseen problems may occur that need immediate attention, and projects may take longer than expected. Sometimes, it may even be necessary to ask for help. Hiring a Virtual Assistant can help ease these unplanned circumstances allowing you to stay with your other, more important plans.
All in all, if you plan your work and do your best to work your plan, success will not be far behind