Archive for March 10th, 2011
Yesterday I talked about the differences about working ON your business compared to IN your business. Today I thought it is worth listing the things I am supposed to think about when working ON my company. I say ‘supposed’ because this is a list from a number of sources including other small business blogs, company growth programs, mentoring groups and the like. I confess I don’t work on all of these, and when I am working ON my company, I only try to consider one in any ‘session’.
At the end of the day, everybody will have different plans, aspirations and goals for there business. There is no right or wrong about the way you plan the future of your business, as long as you do plan.
So here is the list of things worth considering in your business plan when you work ON your business:
- Goals – what do you want from your business. Are you happy doing what you do now, do you actually want more business? Where do you want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, 20? What happens when you leave your company – does it just stop, fold, do you sell it or does it continue?
- Marketing – Where will you next customer come from? Can you define a customer, where they come from in the country, their size, etc? Do you need to look at online advertising, offline, mailshots, exhibitions, a salesperson, telemarketing, outsourcing? Do you need a sales marketing plan – if so how many sales, what will the value be, what is the cost of sales or profit?
- Sales Message – Does your sales message work to win you business? Is it strong enough? Can it be stronger? What about Unique Selling Point – what’s yours look like?
- Products and Services – Are your products up to date, do they need to be refined, redone? The same with services? What about new products and services? In what markets do you need to stay, expand or pull out of?
- Money – How is cash flow – do you need to increase your prices? How much cash will you need in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? How will you reach this level?
- Collateral – Is your sales material sufficient to make the sales? New printed material – if so, in what form? What about your web site? Do you need to look at demo kit, setups or play systems? What about freebies – pens, mats, disks with software?
- Community – does your company have a community presence? Does it give to charity? Should it? Can this help raise your profile?
- Expansion – Are you happy with your company size? Do you want it to grow in size – if so by how much and when? New staff, open an office or expand current office? What about new markets, products, countries? Do you need to shrink any of these to grow?
- Customers – How many new customers do you need to meet your plans? What is your ideal customer? Do you have any ‘dead weight’ customers? How can you retain customers? Special offers, referrals, do these work for you?
- Competition – Have you reviewed your competition? Are there any stalking horses about to take customers and business? Do they offer products or services you should be offering? Have they got customers that you could win?
- Tools – Do you and your staff have the tools required for growth? Review all tools – software products, hardware including laptops, demo kit, web hosting, manufacturing and anything else. Are there better tools than those you use now?
- Skills – do you have up to date skills? Are there skills you need or want to learn that would project the company forward? Are your current skills set becoming out of date? Are there skills that will earn better rates?
- Backup – What is the backup plan for your company? Do you keep good data backups? What about general business backups – what happens if your car no longer works, you become ill, your computers fail, cash runs out, you customers go under, a contract is cancelled, a sub contractor lets you down? Plan to fail, don’t fail to plan.
- Documentation – Is your documentation up to spec? Can it be improved or be made more visible? What about putting it on the web?
- Health and Insurance – Do you have sufficient insurance in place? What happens if you are sued, become sick, get knocked down, loose one of your senses? Are you fit enough to run and/or grow your business
- Family – How does your family fit with the business? Do you want more free time to spend with them, or more money to spend on them? If so, what needs to change to allow this to happen?