Business Planning – Part II

6 More Tips for Business Planning

Today’s post is a continuation of last Tuesday’s post – Business Planning – Part I, Goal Setting. We will be covering six more tips to help you with your planning.

Identify your Unique Value Proposition
To be competitive in your chosen area and successful over the long haul, you need to identify your unique value proposition.

This is a short statement that describes how you (your service and/or products) are uniquely different from your competitors. This is a critical part of your branding (even if you are branding yourself). It will also be your guiding light and help you be more effective in marketing your service/product.

If you cannot clearly define your Unique Value Proposition, how will potential customers be able to do so?  Why would they choose you, if they cannot quickly identify why they should? What you are offering has to grab them quickly and provide a promise that you can help them.

Do not focus on being the biggest, fastest, cheapest or best, because there will always be someone else who will come along and do it better. When you focus on your uniqueness, it is much harder for another company to outdo you.

Define Your Target Market
Create a profile for your target market. There are two important components that you should consider.

  • Demographics – This is quantitative data about the people who buy (or may buy) your product/services such as geography, age, annual income, educational level, occupation, and number of individuals living in household.
  • Psychographics – This is psychologically-based, qualitative data that helps you understand the people who buy (or may buy) your product/services. For example: Attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors such as buying preferences. May also include, hobbies and interests, vacation preferences, and their values or opinions,

This will take some work, but it is important. When you have identified your target market, you can focus your marketing efforts specifically on those people. It is truly a targeted approach, rather than the shotgun approach.

Know Your Competition
As you develop your business plan and set your goals, you must research your competition. What is the overall business climate, who are your competitors, what do they offer, what are their Unique Value Propositions, how do they solve customers’ problems, and how can you set yourself apart from them? Also . . .try to find out what their customers think about them.

Track Visitors’ Actions on Your Site
When designing or re-designing your business website, focus on what you want people to do when they visit – what actions do you want them to take? You can create a beautiful Website from a design perspective, but if it doesn’t entice people to do what you want them to do, it is worthless.

My guess is that you will want your site convince people to “buy” or drive traffic to other sites where they will “buy.” Visitors are nice, but conversions should be your goal.

Get the Resources You Need
To the degree possible, identify what resources you have in place and the resources you need to acquire – both immediately and long-term. If you are not sure, find people (or an informative book) to help you. Once you have the list of resources you need, outline how you will develop or secure those resources when you need them. Seek out individuals who can coach and mentor you as you grow your business.

Be Patient
In case you didn’t already know, it typically takes a few years of operation before a business becomes profitable. Planning well, and following your plan can help speed up the process, but you must be patient and plan for the possibility that it may take a while. Every business needs time develop, build a customer base, become established, and make a profit. Be prepared to be patient and stay the course.

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