by Rick Kroetsch
You’re caught in a Catch-22—you know you need a plan but you never have time to sit down and do a plan because you’re too busy running your day-to-day business.
Think about doing a nimble plan
Business plans don’t have to be long, detailed documents. That perception is usually what stops entrepreneurs from starting them. They seem to be too much work and time commitment. Here’s how to make it more efficient. Start with the five W’s.
Start with your target market—who do you want to attract? Look at your current customers, look around at your trading area, and determine who you will want to attract in the future. It may be your current customers or you might need to change some things in your business to attract a new base of clients.
Have you looked at what these future customers will want to purchase from you in the future? Don’t just look at products—what services will they want from you in order to attract them and get them to buy? Do you need to review your online approach, delivery, self-checkout, loyalty programs, et cetera?
It always seems to come down to time and money, so you will need to plan and prioritize your future tactics. You won’t be able to do them all at once, so determine which ones need to be done now, next month, and six months from now.
How your customers can buy from you may change. You might want to change locations, add new locations, downsize or increase your square footage, partner with other distribution channels, et cetera. What will your future customers want and where?
This is very important. You and your team need to know why you are doing what you do. What is the purpose behind our business? What is our vision of what we want to do? What do we want to accomplish? Thinking this through will help in all decision making in the future, as everyone will know where the business wants to go and why in that direction.
Now the numbers
Once you have sorted out the five W’s, planning the numbers should be easier. You know what you want to do, whom you want to sell to, and what you want them to buy. This is where you determine your financial goals and objectives. Put some numbers around your plans. Look at sales, net profit, payroll expense, average margins, sales per square foot—what is important in your future to track and plan?
Short and to the point
Keeping your future plan nimble allows you to change it quickly. Review it quarterly to ensure that you are staying focused and adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace with new opportunities. For a great sample of a nimble plan, download Gazelles’ free One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP).
Rick Kroetsch is the vice-president and associate publisher of Alive Publishing Group.