It may be hard to believe for some of us, but the New Year is already here! For most of us, that means that the holiday festivities are finally winding down, and it’s time to get back onto the everyday grind. Although, for those of us who are Connecticut business owners, we see this time as the final quarter of 2017 wrapping up, and that now is the time for us to prepare a solid business plan to have a successful 2018. If you haven’t gotten quite started with your business plan for your Connecticut business, we want to help you get there! We want to see all of our clients find success in 2018, so we wanted to discuss how you can track your goals, what should be included in a successful business plan, and a step-by-step process to get started with your business plan today.
The first step to creating a business plan that will lead your business to a successful 2018 is to recognize why a business plan is so critical for the bottom line of your business.
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas H. Everett
On the surface, it helps communicate your goals to your entire organization, and how the leaders in your business plan to get there. When you really think about it though, without a business plan, your business would be shooting in the dark as far as production is concerned. It’s important to have your goals, strategy, and plan laid out, this way you have something to aim and shoot for on a daily basis to help boost productivity. Let’s face it; no successful business was ever started without the foundation of a solid plan in place first.
A working business plan will be made up of many parts, including, but not limited to:
- An executive summary of your business
- A description of your company
- An analysis of your industry’s market
- A breakdown of your management and the organization
- A description of your products and services
- A marketing strategy and budget
- Financial projections
With all that being said about business plans, you may be asking yourself, what is the first step?
- Describe your business.
The first step is to properly describe your business and what direction you want your business to head in this year. It’s important to include any and all obstacles you face along the way, this way you can brainstorm solutions before you have to face situations head-on. Remember, when Noah built the ark, it wasn’t raining yet! We suggest also including a breakdown of both your ideal customers and your target market. You may also want to consider creating marketing personas to better target your ideal customers as well. Additionally, just be sure to clearly lay out all of your products and services in your company description, but always keep your value proposition in the forefront of your mind while doing so.
- The numbers don’t lie.
The next thing you’ll want to take care of is checking out any numbers and metrics that you have available from last year. It’s best to make a goal on where your numbers should be moving forward this year, but be sure to keep it realistic and accomplishable. Additionally, while taking a look at numbers, it’s best to double check things like your location strategy and taking a look at any license agreements that could affect your plan.
- Be flexible.
Your plan should also be flexible for the viewer as well. This means that you could have multiple versions of your plan that are slightly modified depending on who will be viewing it. If your financial advisor is looking at your plan, then they may be mostly interested in your financial projections. Meanwhile, if one of your employees is looking at your business plan, they may be a bit more concerned with the structure and organization of the company as a whole, or their room for personal growth. Additionally, try to plan for 3-5 years ahead. Some plans will be more thorough, and can include up to ten years out even. Just be sure to remember that the further you plan ahead, you may see more inaccuracies with your projected forecast.
- Market/financial details and analysis.
When it comes to analyzing the market, be sure to include any potential external growth trends, or any information you have about market share. Analyzing your surroundings in your industry will help you decide what your next strategy should be as you move forward this year. Remember, keep your expectations realistic and honest. Drew Starbird, a professor of operations management and information systems at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business once said, “The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make when writing a business plan is to be overly optimistic with sales and future cost estimates.”
- Never let go of your “why.”
What is your “why,” you might be asking?
Your why is important for the bottom line of your business, because if you’re only competing for money, then your business will surely collapse. You should also be focused on other priorities, such as raising the payroll for your staff, offering benefits when you can, or making an impact on your local community. These are some of the goals we are keeping in mind moving into 2018 here at Paradiso Insurance.
- Make sure your properly protected.
It is true that business plans are here to help lead you to success in 2018, but we can’t always predict the future. No business, no matter how big or small, is free from worry. We want to help our commercial clients with staying free from claims and we want to see your business find success too! Although, if something does unfortunately go wrong, we want to be able to help you stay protected and free from worry. Visit our commercial insurance page today to see how one of our professional agents can help you get started with finding the right coverage to protect your Connecticut business’ individual needs.
Remember, we want to see all of our clients have an amazing and successful 2018! To help you track your goals, our marketing team has created a tracking spreadsheet that is free for our commercial clients to download. By keeping this sheet handy, you can keep your goals on the forefront of your mind this year, and stay focused on crushing them! Download your free goal tracking sheet today below.