Strategic planning is a coordinated and systematic process for developing a plan for the overall direction of an organization and the allocation of resources to optimize future potential. Many businesses start out with only an idea and a desire to succeed. Sometimes it works; more often, it does not. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the main reasons businesses fail are the lack of a solid plan and the lack of adequate capital. These two reasons are not unrelated, especially in tight economic times. After all, if you don’t invest in a good plan for your business, why would you expect someone else to invest in your business?
Writing a business plan will assist you in improving the probability of succeeding in business and avoiding key errors. Even if you are the only person who reads your plan you still should have a written blueprint for what your business does, who you serve, why you are different from your competitors, and how you will carry about with your daily business procedures. The following are three reasons your business needs a business plan.
The organization of a Business Plan is very important. I use an eight section plan format that is in a specific order as each section builds from the previous section (note: you may have to jump back and forth on a limited basis between the Products and Services Section and the Marketing Section, as well as, the Strategic Section, depending on the extent of your market and product development to date). There is fluid thought and connected reasoning employed to achieve a Plan that reaches its intended purpose (i.e. to run a business, to buy a business, to enter a Joint Venture, to finance a business, to complete a particular project, etc). Although the Executive Summary is the first section of a Plan, it should be written last. All the other Sections should be developed in a build block order provided in a Business Plan Workbook Process.
Let’s spend a few minutes focusing on perhaps the most important principle in creating a successful online business- your strategic marketing plan. A lot of people are intimidated by internet marketing because there is so much competition in many large niches such as network marketing, coaching, consulting, and information marketing. As an online marketing coach, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard statements like:
A simple business plan is all you need to keep your company moving along the success track.
Ask many entrepreneurs if they have a strategic/business plan/blueprint and they will nearly always say yes, but ask to see it and you’ll discover that it is often just a mental vision they have in their heads.