I think that the first thing that we notice in business is that no one in the world will be as passionate about your business as you are. No one! With that being said, it is our passion that needs the plan if the business is to thrive. Here are five things that your plan needs:
1. IDENTITY – Identify what your business is in your executive summary. Figure out what your objectives are and what your business is trying to accomplish. This is not only true for new businesses, but this is something that people with well established practices seem to lose sight of, or forget to reference. Your identity is something that we must stay true to no matter what happens or what people have to say. Drifting away from your identity or even not having a clear understanding of your business makes it harder for the consumer to figure out where they fit within your business. Use the 5 W’s as a guide to drafting your identity, and make sure you understand the power of why you are here and the potential of what your business is, where it came from, who stands behind it, where it will go, and when it gets there the true test is if you were able to stay true to the plan and your identity.
2. PERSONAS – Know who you want to be of service to. This is your business, and your passion. We all have an idea about what our ideal consumer profile would be. Target those that fit the profile of your ideal personas. If your focus is business-to-business transactions, you would target a different persona profile than if your transactions were business to consumer based. People often say that this practice is discriminating, but in all actuality, we are identifying where resources should be focused for maximum impact using demographics to hit the target audience. Once you figure out who you want your customers to be, understand how to market to them, and what their needs and wants are. The key is to fill those voids.
Make it known that you stand apart from your competition because you understand the customer better, and that you are ready to deliver 110% of the time, whether it be to men, women, children, animals, for charity, or for profit. Keep in mind that it is ok to have multiple target personas, and that some of these personas are identified over time. You just have to know and understand how to market to each one to obtain maximum results. This is a major part of your business plan, so make sure you understand your market really well, and how your business fits in the grand scheme of things.
3. PROOF – There are two different parts to this point. First you have to prove that your business will work, and that the world would be a better place with your business in full effect. This isn’t just necessary for your investors, or for those that will help you finance your business, but your consumer wants to know and trust that you stand behind what you do and what you are here for.
Often times, people let their passion get in the way of reality, and unfortunately your customer will be able to see through the smoke screen before you even have a chance to explain what you meant to do. Misguided passion is the ultimate downfall and reason why most businesses fail. People skip the steps to starting a business or keeping a business going and growing. All I can say is that you have won if your convictions about your business yield loyal and happy customers.
The second point is that you need to build your proof. What I mean by this is that we need to constantly be building on our businesses. Make sure we focus on building an arsenal of great testimonials, and group of brand evangelists that will spread the word about how great you and your business are. When people outside of your business are as passionate about your business as you are, leverage that by any means necessary. This form of proof is worth its weight in gold and can’t be bought, but it will be the difference between fighting the good fight and being the leader of the pack when it comes to your competitors.
4. OPPORTUNITIES – In your industry, know where your opportunities are for growth, and know where you could run into trouble. Too often, people try to avoid the inevitable. We all have a competitor or maybe even a roadblock that will get in our way of achieving our goals. Instead of tiptoeing around these pitfalls, identify them as opportunities, and really be prepared for what could happen. Have a plan in place for if it does happen, and make sure that you are constantly evaluating and identifying cases where opportunities exist.
5. ACCOUNTABILITY – Be true to yourself and your business. Honestly. Set goals that is attainable and somewhat challenging. You have a plan in place, so follow it and evaluate accordingly. If you follow your plan and still fall short, you can see where the holes in your plans exist. Make an effort to circle back and see where you can improve, rather than sitting back and waiting for the apple to fall from the tree. Holding yourself and business accountable won’t just keep you in business, but it will make you successful and a leader in the scope of what you do.
By: Amara Omoregie