It’s that time of year. With approximately 90 days to go before we are welcoming in 2013, any entrepreneur who desires to achieve their goals is beginning to write down what they’d like to see happen in 2013.
In my opinion, a strategic plan to guide your year is essential to growing your business. Seldom do entrepreneurs put the kind of emphasis on analysis that is necessary to help them achieve growth year after year. Well, that changes for you today because I am going to share my 5 elements that you must analyze if you desire to grow your business even by 5% next year.
1. Analyze your target audience. In order for a business idea to be viable, you have to get clear on who will buy your products and services. And, more importantly you have to make sure that those who could buy will buy because the problem you solve is a top-of-mind problem for them. I like to break this down into a concept I like to call the Audience of One®- one distinct type of client, with one distinct problem that you provide one robust solution to. Each year, during your strategic planning process, you should look at who you’ve been serving and the results that were yielded and then vision cast about who you NEED to be serving so you can achieve your goals. The clearer your client profile, the better you will become at creating a strategy to attract and serve them. You must take the time NOW to up-level your client so you can work with less but earn more because you’ve gained the clarity to validate what they are looking for and what they will invest to solve their problem.
Your Assignment: Go back to your client profile and get crystal clear on who they are, what they are struggling with and what you can provide to stop their struggle. You may need to conduct some market research (primary and secondary) to get to the succinct answers that will govern the plan you put together for your 2013.
2. Analyze your prices. It’s true that people perceive that “you get what you pay for.” I learned this lesson the hard way. Early in my career, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I priced myself out of a speaking engagement that would have changed my business by coming in way too low because I thought it would help me get the gig. It didn’t. When analyzing your prices, look to the value of what you create for your clients not just the cost of goods and your level of markup. Your goal here is to get to profit as quickly as possible, and profit can only happen if there is money left over after all expenses have been paid for each client that you serve. I recommend that a part of your strategic plan for 2013 be to NO LONGER offer discounts. By offering discounts it takes a lot longer for you to earn a profit in your business. And, if you position yourself correctly, you won’t need to discount your prices at all.
Your Assignment: Take your 2012 prices and raise them. First you must determine your gross profit margin (if any currently). If you have no profit margin, raise your prices enough to create one for yourself. To substantiate that new price, what can you add in the form of a valuable bonus that doesn’t necessarily cost you more time or energy? Keep in mind that even if you lose customers at your new rates, acquiring new ones will still increase your overall profit margins and allow you to start creating a profitable business.
3. Analyze your brand and position. Your brand is everything when it comes to building your business. Your brand includes perceptions, credibility and compelling reasons why who you say you are is believed and invested in. You need to ensure that you have sufficient recognition in your market, enough that it would warrant a potential client to want to seek you out as the solution they’ve been in need of. Your name has to mean something, your brand has to give a strong promise of excellence in service….doesn’t it? What does it mean? What do your testimonials and success stories say about your work? How many people like your Facebook business page? How many recommendations do you have on LinkedIn? How many Twitter followers retweet you daily? How many clients have actually referred their friends and colleagues to you? If these questions do not produce favorable responses, you need to do some serious work on your branding.
4. Analyze your marketing strategy. With clarity surrounding your target audience, your pricing and your brand, you need to analyze your marketing strategy. You want to be able to determine what you did in 2012 that contributed to your business growth and what you should repeat or modify to accomplish more in 2013. Remember, if your goals increase, your marketing footprint must as well.
5. Analyze your reason why. And lastly, you must analyze your reason why. Checking your motives and ego to ensure that service is at the root of any and all strategic plans is essential to experience real growth for your business. Knowing why is what will pick you up when a disappointment knocks you down.
Your Assignment: Spend 15 minutes writing about the reason(s) why you started your business and more importantly why you desire it to grow next year. Be clear about the reasons for each type of growth: financially, emotionally and spiritually.
If you take the time now to analyze each of the five elements I highlight for you, your 2013 plan will be more robust.
What areas will you also look at that I didn’t mention, share those with us here by leaving a comment below. And if we can help you to prepare your 2013 strategic plan, consider one of our consulting options.
©2012 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises.com, Incredible Factor University® the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System® a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “5 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” visit https://www.incredibleoneenterprises.com