On Tuesday, August 9, we held our first B4: Small Business Workshop focused on business planning. It was a great two and a half hours of learning, conversation and networking. Here is a brief recap of the areas we covered–the six considerations for business planning, if you will:
Planning, whether business plans, marketing plans, financial plans or strategic plans, are essential to any business. Keep them simple and easy to understand. No one wants to implement a plan that takes a half hour to understand in the first place. Create deliverables with measurable, attainable goals in mind.
We can’t always predict what will happen in life, in business or in a certain department. We can, however, take time to prepare responses and policies for situations that may occur. Concentrate on a proactive mindset first, but have your situational responses ready. Think about how you will handle rush projects, returns, unhappy clients and negative social media chatter.
According to Vistaprint’s Small Business Happiness Index (May 2011), referrals are the top marketing tactic for generating new business (at 41%) for microbusinesses. Small businesses, nonprofits and other organizations also depend heavily on referrals and networking. If you never get out from behind your desk to make those personal connections, you’ll never grow. Set a monthly networking goal and push yourself toward it. Social media is great, but there are still some things best done in person.
Your organization, your business, depends on a profit to sustain itself. Planning for future growth is critical in achieving success. Look at your current client or customer base, you staff, your resources. Are they all contributing at their full potential? Are you wasting time on things that do not add to the future of your organization? If nothing changed from now until five years from now, could you remain sustainable?
It’s not all about generating lists, it’s about establishing relationships. However you decide to plan for prospective new business, new clients, new constituents, make sure that plan also answers the question, “how will we create and foster relationships with these people?” No one likes to talk to a brand; we talk to people. Be genuine. Be real. Prospects will follow.
Tap in to all of your resources–vendors, customers, clients, family, friends, they guy you meet on the street–and use them in various ways when planning for business. Read books, magazines and online content, and become involved with professional organizations in your industry.
The above six considerations are covered in detail our B4: Business Planning Workbook. If you’re interested in purchasing this 12-page workbook, contact us and we’ll send one your way.
Don’t miss our second workshop in the B4: Small Business Workshops series where we’ll be talking about business marketing and, more specifically, social media for business. All workshop attendees will receive the B4: Business Planning workbook as part of registration. You can check out details and registration here. And as a special treat to our blog readers, use code Blog20 for $20 off a single workshop ticket.