Planning, the Key to Success - Page 3
It's very important that your marketing plan be clear and specific. Who will do what and when? How many calls? How many emails? How many face to face meetings before a sale? How will you convert suspects to prospects and prospects to new customers/clients? Prepare a simple sales funnel to determine how much more you want to sell or how many new clients you want in a year, and then plan for all of the steps prior to the sale in detail. Is your plan realistic? How will you hold yourself accountable? When will you make adjustments if it becomes apparent that your plan needs them?
It's important that you set reasonable expectations of yourself and your subordinates. That's why adjustments are always welcome if results are not being achieved, but you have to have a base line from which to make changes. That's the Marketing Plan.
Operating Plan – Now that you have determined how much you want to sell and have created a Marketing Plan to achieve those goals, is your infrastructure capable of handling the new business? Does your current staff have the capacity to properly execute the new work? Are your computer systems up to the task? Will you need to add software, hardware or personnel if you reach your sales/marketing goals? At what point should you begin to consider adding staff?
Who does what in your office? Do you have a good handle on each individual's daily routine? Do you know who is at full capacity and who can handle some extra duties? Who would be the first person you would go to in your office if you decided to delegate an important task? Would you have to rearrange their priorities in order to get the new work done?
These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself, your staff and any mentor that you may have. Then you can be sure that your Operating Plan will support the level of work that you expect for the next twelve months. Remember, this business plan is a road map. As you travel along, you can stop and make adjustments. Setting realistic goals and objectives in the beginning is optimum. Taking stock along the way and making necessary adjustments to cope with your changing landscape is essential.
Financial Plan - Up to this point you know how much more you want to sell and you have thought through the changes to your staff and infrastructure that may be needed. Now you will need to take a hard look at what the gross and net effect of those changes will have on your finances. How much additional revenue could be produced? Will there be any additional financial burden placed on the business by the new work? If you will require financing, have you address where it will come from? Have you prepared pro-forma financial statements and cash flow projections for the upcoming year?
All the best thought out Marketing and Operating Plans will be a waste of time if you haven't properly planned your finances. Get your accountant involved. Let them help you take a realistic look at what you plan to do and give their opinion on what, if anything, you need to do to be sure you can afford your plan.
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