Every December, businesses across the country create business plans for the following year. They look at what performed well the year before, what areas are cause for concern, and where their focus should lay. This is such an important task that December is actually known as National Write a Business Plan Month.
So what goes into a proper business plan and how should you start it? We’ve detailed what makes a solid business plan in the past, but we’re going to take it a step further with this blog. All business owners, entrepreneurs, and heads of marketing know that you must conduct a full industry analysis, research customer personas, and create marketing and financial plans. But what does all of that really mean and how does one start this for the first time?
The Executive Summary
We suggest starting with your executive summary – list your company goals, your mission statement, and your vision for the following year. After that, list the ups and downs your business experienced the year prior and what areas you need to improve upon. Starting at the beginning and detailing every step of the way is the best strategy for a successful business plan.
The Industry Analysis
After you’ve detailed the executive summary, you’ll dig into the industry analysis. COVID has, without a doubt, changed how each market performs and what customers have come to expect. So, during this phase, you’ll dig deeper into the changes your industry has seen, what COVID has changed, and how your customers have responded to those changes. If they are positive, that is wonderful – work that into your business plan for the following year. If they are negative, you must find out why and what options you have to turn them into positives the following year.
The Mission Statement
After you know what’s going on in your industry, you’ll flesh out your company’s goals for the following year. Rewrite your mission statement or tweak it if the current situation calls for it. Know everything about your customers: their likes, dislikes, shopping habits, favorite places to eat, etc. The more you know, the better you can dig into their true wants and desires in a way that can only help your company. Knowing everything about your customer personas will help you edge out your competitors.
Next, you need to work out your budget. You can’t start your marketing or plan any promotions until you have a full 2022 budget finalized. Once this is achieved, you can dig into the organization of it all. Who is in charge of what? How often (if ever) should you run sales or promotions? How will your customers respond to them? You can have a great business plan, but you must be able to execute it properly in order to see success.
With a full plan, including promotions, budget, and knowing who is in charge of what, you will find that having a business plan is a lifesaver. Yes, you can make small tweaks throughout the year as needed, but having a starting point for the next 12 months will ensure you keep your business on the right track. If you need help creating a business plan or managing any of the day-to-day responsibilities of it all, let us know. We help our partners with warehousing, logistics, financial support, and more, and we’d love to help you see an even more successful 2022.