If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have:

  • More ideas than time
  • More things to do than hours in a day
  • Big dreams for your business…

And if you’re like many entrepreneurs, you don’t have a documented plan to help you get there. 

Having a solid business plan is one of the most important, but overlooked aspects of running (and growing!) a successful business.

Yet many entrepreneurs keep a plan “in their head”.

Which really amounts to a rough draft of how you’ll run your business this year.

Problem is,  you can’t run a business in your head.

Sure you might hit some of your goals each year. But your business will never reach it’s full potential until you get your business out of your head and on paper (digital docs).

The Value of a Plan

I learned the value of having a documented plan for my business in place, when I started my business back in 2002.

After leaving a highly-structured six-figure corporate job, I came home to start my business.  As a single parent of a 4 month and 4 year old, I quickly found that without that pre-existing structure and a plan, the business was never going to happen.

So I pulled up a Small Business Administration business plan on the web one day and it was of no help to me!

  • Not only did it require a bunch of information that I didn’t have, it didn’t apply to my new ecommerce business.
  • Nor did it take into account the person running the business (yours truly).

Yes, I needed to work on my entrepreneurial self as much as I needed to work on the business.

So out of desperation, I sat down and created my own plan.

  • I thought through logically all the pieces that I needed to make happen.
  • Segmented them so I could have a clear picture of which areas of my business were working for me and which were working against me.
  • And then put my plan to the ultimate test – I put it into action!

With a bit of tweaking and adjusting along the way, it worked!

In fact it worked so well that in later years I began using the plan with my students and clients.

And they loved it too.

Because this plan looks at the business and the business owner, I called it my Holistic Business Plan.

Not only did I hit my financial goals that year, but I actually had a system in place to grow the business.

Now, I’ll be sharing more about the Holistic Business Plan in my next blog post.

But first, I want to talk about YOUR business plan for 2013…

Wait! Before You Start That Plan…

The first thing that you must do before you plan for 2013 is to take a snapshot of where you’re business is today.

Otherwise you’re documenting a dream not a plan.

Here are six questions to get you started.

1. What were your 2012 sales, broken out by month (Jan-Dec)?

2. What was your 2012 net profit margin each month?

3. What were your top 10-20 best selling products/services?

4. What products, currently sitting in inventory represent stale/aged/unprofitable inventory?

5. Where did you make the most money last year? What marketplace did you sell the most in?

6. What was your most successful marketing channel?

Now, pull up a Word Doc (Google Docs will work just fine.) and  start by jotting down the answers to the questions above.

If you don’t have all the information at your fingertips, jot down what you can and move on.

You’ll be amazed at the clarity this short business snapshot will provide after even just 30 minutes!

Only then can you put in place a plan for growth and success that you can confidently achieve.

Next, tell me below… how is your 2013 plan? What do you need help with? Let’s chat!

-Lisa

 

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