If you are a business genius, it might be that you intuitively choose the right marketing and strategy for expansion. For the rest of us mere mortals, business development needs a carefully thought out and researched plan. The benefits of creating a good, coherent strategy are numerous, including:
- It forces you to think about your goals objectively.
- Satisfies any backers such as banks, investors or partners.
- Ensures everyone is on message and knows where the company is heading.
The building blocks of a good business development plan are knowing where you have come from, where you are now, and what you want to do in the future. You will have a clear idea of how your industry works and what the competition is up to. Added to this you will have an in depth knowledge of your customers and how your product or service is performing.
Most businesses use this information to perform a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This informs the goals for developing the business, building on the strengths, addressing weaknesses and taking all the new opportunities available.
Setting goals for your business
There are two sorts of goals that will benefit your business, short and long term. A short term goal could be increasing sales of a particular product over the next quarter. A long term goal would be to double the size of the business over the next couple of years. A business plan should be sustainable and realistic so you need to consider all the minutia as well as the big picture.
As the saying goes, a long journey begins with a few small steps. You can’t have one without the other.
Let’s say you have identified a weakness in the uptake of a service that you know is going to benefit your customers but needs some work. You decide to push it out there with marketing, a radio ad perhaps. When you are planning something like this then you need to consider several aspects:
- First and foremost is the Return on Investment or ROI. That means are you getting your money’s worth, both in financial terms and the time you have to put into it to make it work. Does the increase in sales warrant the expenditure?
- Secondly, you have to understand that if the advertising plan is successful then you may not have enough staff on board to cope with the increase in productivity. In other words, can you cope with the sudden growth in sales? Do you need to order more product? Do you need more staff available?
- Thirdly, how are you going to handle all these new customers? How are you going to follow up enquiries? How are you going to keep in touch with them once they have brought your product or service? It’s all very well getting excited when you make more sales but you have to make the most of these customers to boost future sales.
Developing your business
Whether you are small or large you will need to keep a close eye on how you develop your business. It helps to have someone who can gather the data, bringing all the informational aspects of your company together, build valuable partnerships, explore new markets and develop that all important customer base. In large businesses this is often a team or even a whole department dedicated to the cause, in smaller one’s it is limited to a few select individuals.
Either way, having a coherent and robust business development plan means that your company knows where it is going and, more importantly, has a good idea how to get there. Otherwise you are rowing around on a misty lake with only one oar. No idea where you are going and if you hit anything it is by sheer accident and may even sink you!
You’ve Gotta Have a Plan Stan! What does yours look like?
At The Last Hurdle™ the first course is a consultation with potential clients to find out where they are now, where they want to get to before we can start exploring how we would get them there! We are not believers in one size fits all – it rarely does! from the consultation we compose a development plan which states how we would go about growing the clients business, the systems and methods used etc. To book your consultation and subsequent development plan please call 01327 359908 or email firstname.lastname@example.org