This is the time of year when you need to be spending lots of time on your small business strategy looking at what worked and what didn’t work in your business this year and what you will eliminate, add or change next year to really soar. It’s kind of like performing surgery, then creating a solid plan for renewal.
If you’ve been floating year to year with no real plan, you’ve probably experienced frustration and lack of progress because planning exactly how you will grow is crucial. The shot-in-the-dark approach just keeps you stuck.
Here are 6 business planning steps you must take–
1) Identify the current level of your business
Small businesses fall into one of two levels. Level 1 is a business that is still in the foundation stage. If you own a level 1 business, you may have a basic website, you may have some clients, but you are still not standing out in the crowd and you’re not making enough money to support your lifestyle. You could have been in business one year or five; if you’re still not where you want to be, chances are you’re at Level 1. This is important to know because it tells you that you have more foundational work to do, like developing a signature, branded process, building your following, working on making your website a virtual sales tool and product development so you can escape the time-for-dollars model.
Level 2 businesses are those that are making a solid income, but who are ready to expand and are just not sure how. You’re likely working long hours and you don’t want to add to the work load. Where you need help is in developing a strategic expansion plan with more automated and complex marketing strategies and in developing a stronger outsourced team and planning for much bigger income growth.
Knowing your business level is crucial because if you are trying to expand like a Level 2 business when you don’t have the infrastructure or foundation and you’re still at Level 1, you’ll be disappointed in the results. That’s why all of our coaching programs are now designed with this two level approach. .
2) Set clear, authentic goals
You need to decide how much income you want to generate in the next year and how much you would need to generate in sales to meet your income goal. Many women sell themselves short and set an income goal well below what they are capable of creating. Be bold, but realistic. Then make a list of how your life would change if you met that goal. Be specific. This is where it becomes exciting. How would it change your life? How many more people would you serve? How would it increase your sphere of influence? How would you feel? Free? More secure? Exhilarated?
3) Create a deep strategy and specific plan
You need to create a detailed strategy that spells out how you will make every dollar of your sales goal. Map it out. Take an honest look at where you need to create new products that meet your clients’ needs. Look at where you need to raise your prices or create packages that can be partially automated. Figure out how you can create more passive and recurring income. Map it all out on a yearly calendar so you know what needs to be accomplished every week.
4) Create a plan to outsource and systemize
Your business can grow painlessly if you get some tasks off your desk and outsource them. And anything that can be developed into a system or can be automated should be. You won’t believe how much time you’ll free up. Bookkeeping, rote marketing tasks, technology, website updates and more can be outsourced easily and affordably. Start paying an assistant just a few hours a month and add on as you expand.
5) Create a powerful marketing plan
Without the RIGHT marketing your plan won’t fly. Work with a coach or mentor to learn the marketing strategies, right action steps, proven systems and marketing timing that will make it easy to meet your income goals.
6) Build a support network
I run a successful business coaching and mentoring hundreds of small and solo business owners, but I still work with a coach, attend live events where I can participate in high level networking, and belong to a mastermind group of sharp, motivated people. I learned the hard way that you can’t sit alone behind your computer and expect to experience sustainable success. So build your network of people who are where you want to be and who will teach and encourage you.© Copyright 2010 Janis Pettit