Ever needed a simple, easy to follow yet very effective plan to develop your business? Well that’s what we provide after every consultation with a potential client but how do we write a business development plan?
The first step, we sit down with the potential client and delve into the business with a view to understanding what the business is about. We ask lots and lots of questions so that we can really get to grips with what the offerings are, who the target market is, what issues, trials and tribulations they encounter, what they currently do to attract and retain customers and what resources they have internally.
The second step is then to discover where they want the business to get to i.e. what are their goals for the business? When you get in a car you generally have an idea where you want to get to. Maybe it’s the shops, maybe another taxi run for your children or maybe to drive to a hotel for a break. The one thing in common is that you know where your destination is before you set off. If, en route, you come across road works and have to alter your route, you still drive in a direction that gets you towards your final destination. That’s exactly the same with business. We often have hurdles that need to be negotiated and detours that need to be taken but we must keep our goal in sight at all times so that we can reach our final destination – whatever that may be. We therefore need to know our business goals and use a business development plan as a map so we can attain them.
When completing the first two steps, always put in as much detail as possible. Why? The more detail you put into these parts the more obvious the steps that need to be taken to get from where you are now to where you want to be. It is those steps that form the business development plan.
Having ascertained where we are and where we want to be, writing the business development plan is relatively straightforward. Fill in the gaps i.e. write in the individual steps that are required to enable you to get from one to the other. This is often best done in two or more tiers:
- At the highest level are the actual goals you need to achieve in order to reach your destination. These goals need to:
- follow the classic SMART acronym of being Specific, Measurable etc. and
- have consequences that kick in should they not be achieved
- Break these goals down into individual actions. By doing this you will end up with a series of relatively small tasks that will appear much simpler to complete and yet are all driving your business towards its ultimate goal. If any of the tasks are still too big, break them down again into sub-tasks.
When you have your business development plan please, please do not stick it in a drawer for months. Firstly, if confidentiality permits, discuss it with someone you trust; this adds increased ownership and accountability.
Also ask that person to challenge you on your plan every month to see if you are keeping on track. They will come at it with a different perspective, can help you to re-focus if required and also help you celebrate your successes.
If you’re interested in discussing your business with a view to creating a business development plan specifically for your business, get in touch and arrange an initial consultation with The Last Hurdle.
Dr Trevor Ray.