The main reason we hear that small business owners fail to plan is they don’t have the time to develop the plan. We believe the main reason for that is they make it too complicated. A simple plan that gets implemented beats a half-baked plan that sits on a shelf every time.
One of the stumbling blocks that we see consistently is the confusion between Business Plans, Strategic Plans and Marketing Plans and how they relate.
- A business ideally has a comprehensive Business Plan that details all of the operational, financial, sales and marketing strategies, plans, tasks, goals and responsibilities related to the plan.
- The Strategic Plan (who we are, what makes us different, what is our direction, threats and opportunities [SWOT] and what are our top level goals) is typically part of a comprehensive Business Plan.
- Likewise, the Marketing Plan defines how we drive revenue (tactics, activities, budgets, goals). It also is part of a comprehensive Business Plan.
Hats off to Fortune 500 MBA’s: they would shudder if they understood how many small businesses don’t operate with all of the comprehensive planning outlined above. I am not here to argue that they should. The reality is that millions of successful businesses have been running profitably and growing for years with far less planning than would ever be suggested.
So what is the point? Don’t plan? Of course not. I do fall back to the premise from a previous post: a simple plan well executed is much better than an incomplete plan that sits on the shelf. This takes us to what we have preached to small businesses for years: Plan and plan well. Develop a comprehensive Business Plan and include Strategic and Marketing Plans. If you can’t make the time now, you should make the time in the near future to give yourself the best chance at growing consistently in the years ahead.
If you don’t have time for a full-blown Business Plan now, consider a simple, One Page Marketing Plan (Free Example Plan). Marketing drives sales and sales drives revenue. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it solves many—and makes big ones smaller most of the time. A simple one-page plan plots the course, defines the budget and tactics and is immediately actionable.
Download the Free Sample Plan and give it some thought. We will post some thoughts to consider as you develop your one-page plan next week.
Until then: Start Your Planning Engines!