Business Plans frighten many business owners, however as a professional business owner you understand that you must periodically examine your business and determine if it’s meeting your aims and its full potential. A good time to do this is yearly (before the end of your financial year end), but if you’ve not done this for a while, that’s okay, clear a day and take an objective look at how you’re doing, what you are doing right, what you want to do better and then develop a plan of action to move your business forward.
Developing a business snapshot or improvement plan is much like the business plan you first created when you started your business, the only different is now you are operating within the realms of reality instead of conjecture.
When I studied business planning, we learned that to stand the best chance of having a profitable business, we needed to learn to plan, do, check and act. This basically means to create a business plan, follow the plan, measure and check up on the pan and then to keep implementing the plan and tweaking it as necessary.
This is often a long, drawn out process but the truth is, it’s something every business owner really needs to do, every so often. To develop a business improvement plan you’ll need to do the following:
- Know your business needs
- Understand the process involved
- Have a way to analyse results
- Be able to make changes when needed
- Be willing to drop the old and implement the new
- Have a way to test the new
- And…. Repeat….
In any successful business, this process of developing a business improvement plan is ongoing. It will require study of your competition, your target audience, your existing customers, and the current trends, as well as understanding where technology is going for your audience within your niche. Without understanding these things and the ability to look honestly at the past, and hopefully toward the future, it will be hard to develop a business improvement plan of any note.
You can create a business analysis questionnaire to help you accomplish these goals. Depending upon your niche, you may or may not need to include some of these suggestions.
Include in your Business Plan (Business Improvement Plan)
Use your own best judgment. You may include information about:
- Opportunity: Is the opportunity relevant to your audience?
- Industry trends: Where is your industry headed? Read appropriate literature so that you can familiarize yourself with the facts.
- Knowledge: Do you have, or do you know someone who has the knowledge needed to turn this opportunity or idea into a profitable addition or substitution for your business?
- Resources: Do you have the resources in both time and money to complete this project and turn it into a money-making opportunity?
- Features: Can you list all the features of the opportunity?
- Benefits: How does the opportunity benefit your audience?
- Profitability: Is it likely you can profit with the idea or opportunity? If so, how?
I actually went through this process a couple of years back, there I was your typical website design company, servicing our clients and delivering a quality product but struggling to make headway. I wanted to know what I could do to better compete, to better serve my clients and to increase profitability, but where did I start?
First I had to determine if the improvements I was implementing would be justified with the potential projected monetary outcome. Next I had to ensure the improvements would match my industry and fit in with trends that appeal to our target customers. I had to ensure that what I was planning, I had sufficient knowledge from which to base my assumptions and that I wasn’t just guessing.
I actually went through a total rebranding and completely structure the business differently as a result of this planning improvement plan. I took my business from offering high quality websites to another level, in that we now offer the best websites for any business. We specialise in offering the best possible solution, with the best possible returns on a client’s investment. Our planning addressed areas we needed to concentrate on, it identified areas we needed to improve our knowledge on … and ultimately eighteen months later we have now raised our prices substantially over our competitors and have turned our business around, we now no longer compete on price but on value … and the value we offer generates substantial and measurable results for our clients.
Realising also that we need to maximise our revenue streams we are also about to launch our first WordPress plugin, this is a best of breed type plugin allow users to offer fully customised backend administration areas for WordPress users. This makes the whole user experience much more friendly and inviting and allows developers total control of which menus are shown, RSS feeds and custom dashboard panels… we’ve even tackled custom fields and cracked it, making our plugin the first to do this.
I guess I am sharing this with you to demonstrate just what can happen putting aside a day or two and planning your businesses future. If you have the resources, and understand how this change affects your audience, and can see that you’ll earn more money, then you want to go ahead with your plan, it’s a win, win situation… just remember to follow the business plan.