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Planning

More is not always better. Remove all of your underperformers will increase your bottom line and improve customer service. A long list of offerings will only confuse your customers and prevent you from focusing on your best sales and profit opportunities.

Use the following criteria to evaluate each and every product, service and staff you have and take action to remove anything that does not perform to the level that you want:

  • Sales revenue generated
  • Individual profitability
  • Cost of sales - including marketing and support
  • Time and effort spent
  • Marketing Rate of Investment (ROI)
  • Customer perception
  • Overlapping or duplication

You simply cannot please everyone and your business cannot be everything to everyone.

Making improvements to your business is important; equally important is to maintain focus on the core competency of your business, especially when your business is showing signs of success. It is enticing to be a business that appears everywhere and liked by everyone but rapid growth or wide expansion will not always get you there. Instead of expanding your business into other unknown territories, concentrate on what your business is best at or does well. It’s better to spend money to grow your strong areas than wasting it on the weakest parts.

Good planning does not guarantee but increases success rate.  So before you start your business, you should be able to answer these questions fully and honestly:

  • Why am I starting a business?
  • What kind of business do I want?
  • Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  • How much money do I need to get started?
  • Will I need to get a loan?
  • How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  • What products or services will my business provide?
  • What differentiates my business idea/products/services I will provide from others in the market?
  • How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
  • Who is my competition?
  • How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  • Where will my business be located?
  • How many employees will I need?
  • What types of suppliers do I need?
  • What taxes do I need to pay?
  • What kind of insurance do I need?
  • How will I advertise my business?
  • How will I manage my business?

Determining your target market and why people would want to buy from you are the first steps to business planning.

Your business plan needs to answer tough questions and address realistic scenarios.  You need to be clear about what you have to offer and the benefits that your business provide must align with your customer needs. 

When starting a business, be sure to understand what makes your business unique and how to make it stand out from the crowd.  You do not want to become a jack-of-all trades and master of none because this can have a negative impact on business growth.   

Creating a niche for your business is essential to success. You can identify a niche based on your own market knowledge or conduct a market survey with potential customers to uncover untapped needs and potential opportunities for your business. 

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