Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Four-Step Success Formula for a Powerful Business Plan

Experts agree that a good business plan is essential for business success.

However, so many people dread the process of putting together an effective business plan, and they put it off.

Isn’t it easier just to say, “I’m going to do what I did last year, just a little more of it” rather than “reinventing the wheel?”  Easier, yes, but a missed opportunity.

Reinvention is the reason for the process of annual business planning.  An effective business plan isn’t so much the output as it is the process of planning.  Reinventing your business means renewing your energy and recommitting to your goals and strategies.  The process of planning should serve to get you excited about the opportunities to come in the new year.

Here is a simple four-step formula to follow when working on your annual business plan.

1.       Renew
What is the unfinished business of your life?  Where do you want to go?  What do you want to accomplish?  What haven’t you done that you’ve always wanted to do?  What will it take for you to get there, to achieve your dreams?

Business planning is a chance to daydream about what life would be like if only.  If you can see it you can achieve it.

2.       Review
Take a brief look at the past year.  What worked?  What didn’t?  I encourage my clients to view their business as a wheel, to analyze the various sources of business as spokes, and to think about how well-rounded their business is structured.  Do we really want all of our eggs in one or two baskets, or would we rather have multiple streams of business from different sources?

Analyze some of the metrics of your business like average sale price and referrals.  Set some targets for the next year.

3.       Improve
Identify the top three areas where you would like to improve.  Maybe you would like to get better at delivering effective sales presentations.  Perhaps you want to improve the consistency of your lead follow up activities.  Do you want to get better at handling objections?  What about handling rejection?  Think about or list as a task:  to find source material or educational opportunities that can make you better.

4.       Expand
What can you do to make sure you are talking to more of the right people next year?  You need to put the Law of Averages to work for you.  The more shots you take the more shots you’ll make.  Whether you are mailing, calling, or knocking on doors, or networking, or reaching more people through social media or blogging, you have got to expand your reach if you want to grow.  It just doesn’t happen by itself.  Don’t get carried away.  Remember, you are human.

You will need to look realistically at your calendar and your personal commitments and then realistically plan how you can reach more people.  Break the numbers down into bite sized pieces and place your tactics on your calendar as stepping stones to success.

Business planning doesn’t have to be difficult.  Follow these four steps and it can be easy, and fun.  It can energize you for the coming year.  When you are energized you are more productive.

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