Business Planning

Question: I have been in business on the Cape for five years. We have never had a business plan. What are the mistakes that others have made when attempting to implement a planning initiative?

Answer: Winston Churchill said, “he [she] who fails to plan, plans to fail.” So no matter how detailed your planning initiative will be, commencing and executing it is a positive step.

The bigger issue is that 90% of completed plans will not be executed since there is a little commitment, nor organization internally to manage the process. So, if you are going to enter into a planning process, have a plan in place with metrics and benchmarks to assure that you execute.

Here are some mistakes that are common to business planners according to Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com):

Assuming that everyone is a potential customer. Your customers are in defined categories or niches. Seniors, teens – aged 13-19, veterans, working moms. Your sales and marketing initiatives need to be focused.

Understanding your customers. Not only who they are, but why they buy. Are their purchasing decisions based on price, quality, timeliness, experience? What are their motivations to commit to you? What will cause your customers to part with their cash to make a commitment to you?

Failing to consider the competition. We all have competitors, and you need to be aware of who they are, what they do, what is their geographic sphere of influence? Some are direct competitors, i.e., they do precisely what you do. Some are indirect.,i.e., they offer a wider range of services that include what you offer. You also have to consider your customers and prospects as competitors since they can say “NO.” What will cause them to say no and how do you overcome their resistance to buying?

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