Have you fulfilled your game plan?
Setting goals for your business is like trying to hold water in your hands, isn’t it? Great ideas and great thoughts swirl through your head by the dozen, but when you try to put them all together into one cohesive and actionable lump, it doesn’t work. Like water, if you don’t use an effective method to contain and direct game plan flow, those thoughts and dreams slip through your fingers and are lost forever.
You’re likely aware that it is easy to think about what you want your business to achieve, but in actuality, accomplishing those goals is another matter, unless you plan and strategize. Don’t assume that only big corporations have business plans; every company that wants to succeed needs a solid, well-researched, organized, logical, realistic business plan. It takes work, commitment and even painful introspection, but it’s necessary if you want your business to survive longer than six months.
- Develop a business plan. When developing a business plan, you have to think short- and long-range. Tomorrow always comes quicker than you think. Short, one- to three-year objectives give you a workable blueprint to follow that can be changed, as situations merit. Long-range objectives, from three to 10 years, are more loosely structured but nevertheless imperative.
- Identify your offering. What does your business offer? Write a short description of your product or service so that it is clearly understandable what it is that you’re selling. Maybe you sell the most advanced, state-of-the-art, widgets in your industry. If a potential customer has no idea what a widget is or does, he won’t be interested.
- Research, research, research. Yes, research is hard work and no, you can’t cut corners. However, in the end, the benefits of well-developed, organized research heavily outweigh the hassle.
- Find out as much information as possible about your product and market potential. Visit the local public and university libraries. Read trade journals and collateral publications. Hire a market research firm if you can. And finally, talk to lots of potential customers, suppliers or other related businesses.
- Pick your team. Set up a good management team. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of every person, keeping in mind that the word “team” is key. One person cannot do it all; you need individuals skilled in many areas, such as marketing, product development, financial controls, sales or service maintenance. You need to be the leader who can orchestrate all of these players so that maximum output is attained in the most cost-efficient manner.
- List your goals. Have a brainstorming session with your team and write down what you want your company to achieve.
- Be specific. Don’t just write, “make lots of money within two years.” List what steps are necessary and how you will carry them out.