Do you have a business plan? If not…why not? You need to take the time to evaluate your business and determine where you are going and how you intend to get there. This is a necessary part of your business. I always thought I knew where I was going so why bother to write it down. Think of how ridiculously stupid a statement that is! You might know where you are going but how do your employees know? You need to have a written plan. .
The #1 mistake most business owners make is not sharing their vision. You cannot succeed unless you and your employees work as a team.
Developing a business plan is not difficult. You know what you want to achieve so it is just a matter of writing it down.
• Develop a mission statement. A mission statement is only a description or your business. What market you aiming for? High-end? Discount? You need to decide where you want to be and make a commitment. Write it down.
• Marketing. Once you decide where you want to be, how can you get there? Develop a plan of marketing. Is direct mail advertising the best for you? Look at it. Maybe but there are many other options. Social media is definitely a way to go. Surely you have a marketing plan. Find an expert in the field to help you. If you have been doing it the same way for years, it is time to make a change.
• Finances. No business plan is complete without this. You need to study your profit/loss statement. Really look at it. There are sample profit/loss statements available from various Association sources. Compare your costs with the others. If your expenses are not in line, find out why! Most businesses fail because they do not watch their expenses. Over the last few years, many of you have been constantly looking at expenses. This may be the reason you are still in business. Don’t let up now.
• Management is the next important aspect to address. You’re the boss, but that’s not enough. You cannot grow unless you step back and give control to some of your employees. You are running a business, not working in it. This is the biggest mistake that business owners can make. No matter how small your organization is, give the decision-making abilities to key employees. This is the only way you can provide the service necessary to succeed.
If you have a business plan, now is the time to retool and revise it. It will probably need some fine-tuning. If you do not have a plan, start working on one today. If you do not know where to start, go online. Start with the Small Business Administration www.sba.gov. They have an outline you can use for the business plan. There is a wealth of information on their website. You should add this site to your favorites list to have it available. If you have to ask what a favorites list is, well, that is a topic for another time.
For those of you who attended the Clean Show, you are sitting there with many new ideas and happy memories. I am sure you met new friends and re-established old friendships. Don’t let this enthusiasm fade. Make sure you use at least one new thought or idea that you brought home. This would be priceless!