A business plan is your road map to success. Even if you experienced success in 2019, it’s critical to keep it updated every year. It allows you to organize your strategy – from operational plans to marketing. As you look to 2020, what questions should your business plan answer? Let’s take a look.
Question #1: What need does your company address?
In other words, what do you do? Sure, you can highlight all the products and services you provide, but what is it that keeps your customers coming back to you? What is the very core of your business? What useful thing do you offer? And, be sure to back up the need you address with research.
Question #2: What makes your business unique?
Take time to analyze your business and compare what you offer to your competition. Determine what you’re doing right, what your competition is doing right, and identify how you are different. Then, you’ll want to emphasize what makes you unique throughout your plan.
Question #3: Who’s your best customer?
Here’s where you need to get specific. Describe your ideal customer – age, gender, education, geographic location, work status, marital status, etc. While this may evolve, it’s good to have a primary and secondary target to focus your operational and marketing efforts.
Question #4: How do you plan to make money?
Remember, there are two sides to this question – how much you’re going to sell and how much you’re going to spend. Will the amount you sell in 2020 surpass the amount you owe? When will you break even? How and where are you going to sell your products and services? And, how much will your “ideal” customer pay for what you’re selling?
Question #5: What marketing plans do you have for 2020?
Your marketing strategy is a critical part of your business’ success – and often one that’s overlooked. Review what worked well for you over the past year. Then, look at what your competition is doing as well. What marketing resources will you need to be successful? Write down everything you plan to do and then begin to organize it in a way that makes sense to accomplish your goals. You may need to create a stronger digital marketing presence or attend a few tradeshows throughout the year. Or, maybe it’s time to create an app for your business or simply stick with traditional newspaper advertising.
Question #6: What resources will you need to accomplish your goals?
This is really where the rubber meets the road. What is it going to take for you to accomplish your goals? Will you need to get a business loan to invest in technology? Do you need to hire more employees? Is it time to outsource certain functions so you can focus on your business and customers? Be specific and error on the side of caution – your life balance is essential.
Each quarter, spend time reviewing your plan. What is working? What do you need to adjust? Are your goals still realistic? As you progress through the year, you may encounter new challenges and opportunities. Be sure you have built in the ability to adjust and adapt for ultimate success.