Having a great product or service is simply not enough to make it in business. Many solo operators think because they have a good sales offering and a whole lot of enthusiasm that they have what it takes to make it in business. Wrong!
A Business Plan
However dull it may seem to spend days and weeks pouring over a business plan, it is an absolute essential element of successful business. Many soloists skip this step as they feel sure that they fully understand their business and as they operate alone they don’t need to get all formal and write their plan down. However, a good business plan will keep you on track and help you set and achieve business goals. A business plan should also help you to identify and avoid, or at least minimise, potential obstacles to success.
Where to Start
A lot of us avoid writing a business plan because we don’t really know where to start. There is a plethora of excellent information online at sites like http://www.marketsmartly.com/ where industry experts share their knowledge and experience. Take advantage of this when writing your business plan.
It’s All about Goals
A business plan is really a document that sets out clearly what your business goals are, how you intend to achieve these goals, as well as timelines for completion. It should include relevant background information including a thorough description of your business and what it offers as well as a close analysis of your competitors.
It’s a good idea to make your business plan a part of your daily business operation. You can set your goals into weekly or monthly timelines and use your plan regularly to track your progress. You can transfer goals from your business plan onto your Outlook calendar to keep them top of mind. As a solo operator this will provide a great tool to help keep you motivated and on track with your goals. It will also help you plan ahead as you will begin to ascertain what is and isn’t a reasonable timeframe for goals.
Use a Whiteboard
A whiteboard is a great way to keep your business plan in front of you. Write up your goals and cross them off when you achieve them. Keep the whiteboard up to date and watch your progress. It’s important to celebrate your successes along the way. Add an inspirational quote or a funny cartoon to bring life to your whiteboard.
Strategy to Stay Competitive
A SWOT analysis will help you to be objective in assessing your business against the competition. As a solo act it’s easy to get too close to the business to see things for what they really are. A SWOT analysis enables you to identify the strengths and weaknesses your business faces internally, as well as facilitating a review of the opportunities and threats from the external competitive environment.
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the threats and opportunities ahead,will helpyou to build your competitive advantage and make informed decisions about where to focus your energies – a great tool for someone doing business solo.