You’re a smart, savvy business owner. You’re making a profit – even in these tough times. But you’re looking at other business contacts around you – especially on the Internet. You see that they seem to be earning more than you do – almost effortlessly.
Why is that?
They have a plan, man!
Yup. Folks who do some fundamental planning each year (not just when they started their business) have a tendency to succeed more easily and quickly, than anyone else. Why?
Think about this. A long time ago, I had a job at an executive recruiting office. The company had a firm policy that each recruiter must fill out this massive, desk-covering form each day. That form contained 50 lines of data. By the end of each day, each line of that form must be filled in with the name of a prospective employer with job openings, or a prospective employment candidate – someone likely to qualify for one of our job openings. When we walked into work the next morning, we didn’t have to waste time trying to plan our day. We just picked up the phone and started calling people on the list – and starting to build the new list from referrals received during our calls to the first 50 people.
That’s one of the key things a business plan does for you. It gives you a quick, easy plan of action for each week, month – or perhaps even each day.
A good annual plan will identify your prospective target customer base for the year. It will specify what need you will be filling for your customer base. It will outline how best to reach that target market with the least amount of investment and how to provide the best support services to them to keep them seeing you as their only option as a vendor or supplier.
Your plan will also include technology updates you plan to implement for the year. You don’t need to implement every new techno fad that comes along. But it is important to keep up with the trends your particular customer base is apt to adopt. No need to keep improving your technology over and over again during the year. As a very small business (without a full IT staff), pick one or two key improvements each year and implement them.
Do some tax planning as well. Meeting with your tax advisor will help you learn about tax breaks and opportunities that you might have missed. Like the tax break for hiring veterans or under-privileged individuals (Work Opportunity Credit); the city, state and/or federal breaks for situating your business in certain enterprise zones; the special breaks for hiring family members who actually work for your business – and a whole lot more very lucrative tax credits or deductions.
With all this information at hand, all you need to do is build a to-do list and cross off each task as you complete it. It will look effortless to your peers and competitors. They will envy you for becoming so successful, so easily.