If you don’t have a written vision plan for fast growth, the reality is that you’re losing out on potential business.
A written business plan is best. But if you don’t have the time and resources to write it, go to plan B – a vision plan.
Many companies overlook writing it even though it only needs to be one page in length for most firms.
There are all kinds of clues – having to do with foresight and focus – why a young company should develop a vision plan.
Clues you need to write a vision plan:
1. If you have little revenue growth. The longer you wait to write a plan, the more obstacles you will face.
2. If you’re continually working long hours without a return on your investment.
3, If you’re starting to feel depressed on a daily basis.
4. If you’re feeling burnout.
5. If you can’t beat the competition.
6. If you don’t have any growth.
7. If none or few products or services are increasing in sales.
8. If your profits are being squeezed.
9. If your cash flow is tight.
10. If you don’t have sufficient followers on social media or fans.
The mistake most entrepreneurs make is that they think they’ll remember all necessary details. But they stray from their plans.
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
-George Washington Carver
It’s key to write an action plan for your pathway to success – what you need to do to get there. You must do this before you even think about a Web site, blog or press releases.
Important elements to develop your vision plan:
1. Understand who you are
Learn a valuable lesson from Plato, who lived 428 to 348 BC, and was the world’s most-influential philosopher.
Famous for his adage, “Know thyself,” he suggested there was something special about each person. You are, too.
You can’t make smart decisions unless you know who you are and what your company is.
If you’re a micro business, remember you’re synonymous with your company. That’s why individuals evaluate themselves and their companies perform a SWOT analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Do a self assessment of your strengths and weaknesses for what you want to achieve.
You can lessen the impact of weaknesses if you improve on your strengths. Write about how you will improve on your strengths.
2. Develop an executive summary
Then, in one paragraph, summarize who you are and what you want to achieve.
Describe the niche you plan to fill. Explain what and how your firm will look like.
Very importantly: Don’t be tentative. For example, Don’t write, “I can…”. You must write with conviction: “I will…” or “my company will…”.
3. Value proposition
Differentiate your company from your competitors – ideally 10 to 15 words in length. Again, write with strong conviction so your customers will trust you.
Answer these types of questions: What benefits do you provide? Why are you credible and relevant so people will pay you for products or services?
For example, my firm’s name, CMS – Corbell Management Services, has a value proposition: “The CMS Approach will save you time and money while increasing revenue in marketing, human resources and special projects.”
From these elements, write your three-to-five-word branding slogan. For example, this site’s slogan: Proven Solutions to Maximize Revenue.
Develop a simple logo that illustrates the benefits of your slogan. Allow it to be developed as a 16 x 16 pixel favicon. A favicon is important to brand your Web site.
For example, my site’s favicon is the graph in the following image. Otherwise, to tell my story, here’s my full logo and five-word branding slogan:
4. Your ideal customer
Understand the answers to this question: Who is your best opportunity as a target audience?
In addition to customers or clients, you will need Centers of Influence — people who will influence business to come your way. Identify who they are and plan to treat them as customers.
5. Turn your strengths into benefit statements
For selling situations, you will have to focus on your most-important five strengths. Develop a benefit statement for each strength for easier selling of your product or service.
6. Key indicators
When you identify key indicators of your business growth, you’ll be able to devote the right investments in money and time. Then you’ll be able to measure the results.
Use SMART as an acronym – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific.
7. Cash flow
Anticipate your expenses. Detail what will be needed in resources. Be conservative. Know how you’ll manage your inventory costs.
Once you determine what your resources will cost, add another 25 percent to allow for unexpected developments. Do a break-even analysis to determine when you will be profitable.
Know which revenue stream is profitable. Identify potentialities – what you can do to make more profit for the short-term and long-term. Don’t waste time reflecting on ideas that will only yield temporary growth.
As you progress and grow, focus on developing long-term multiple revenue streams.
For example, my business started out as a marketing firm. I quickly learned that clients had issues with their employees’ productivity, which negated marketing strategies and execution, so from my management background I was able to offer HR programs. Then I added “special projects” for clients who felt they had unique challenges.
8. Analysis of your main competitors
Understand why your competitors are successful in areas you’re not. Identify companies that are growing in unique fashions.
Identify the ways in which your competitors aren’t succeeding.
9. Human capital
Identify the qualities you need in people. Only recruit people who are inspired by your value proposition and who do quality work.
10. Increasing sales
Know your best sales opportunities. When do you sell the most? How can you improve?
Fill in the blanks. Write the strategies in how you will succeed. Fine tune as you go along.
From the Coach’s Corner, finally, remember if you have a dream, it’s likely you’ll be able to draw on your experience to make it happen.
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“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
-George Washington Carver