Business Plan Outline
First things first. What is it you do? Not the particulars of how, or what you do. Rather what is it you do to make people want to do business with you?
In my case, “I effectively help business owners communicate with their clientele”. Using Video motion graphics. This could consist of a short 15 second video for Social media, or a training video series. Anything in between. The most popular would be a 45 second motion graphic spot, a website commercial; net commercial if you will. Helping create excitement, or to showcase a businesses strengths or product. ~That is my elevator blurb as they call it.
All Businesses have Challenges What is Yours?
You must identify these challenges in order to effectively overcome them. In my case, first and foremost are customers. Secondly would be a space to create in. Thirdly, would be keeping up with the latest trends or software.
“It is the customer’s opinion that needs to be understood.”
This is where a lot of businesses lose momentum. This may happen right off, or may take some time to realize. An effective way for me to know what my customers want, is to ask. Yet, it may not be at the surface when asking.
A small outline to use when addressing your clients is to ask these 4 questions:
1. Why do or did they buy your service?
2. What do you do differently then what your competition does?
3. Why would they recommend you to someone else?
4. What do they wish you would do differently?
The answers are important, take notes, write the responses down and disect them later. On your time. As you decode the answers those are the key points to capitalize on and set your business plan around. This is what customers want from you. Why they would use you. Learning the above will not only allow you to retain your customers; but knowing the answers will allow you to steal clients from your competitors.
You see- “A client is someone with a problem that needs to be solved”. The key is getting them to know you are there to solve it.
Goals are Very Important to a Business Plan
By decoding the above and using the answers as an outline, you will stay focused and you will achieve your goals. As long as they are attainable.
You cannot just write down; “I will earn 1 million dollars this year” without having a business plan to go by.Try using sub goals to obtain your goals.
Using question number #1’s answer from above, applying your clients answer. That answer has now become sub goal
#1 of your business plan. Why they used you and or bought from you. The answer is…(Blank) Now concentrate on polishing that, with the information you were given. How many more customers are you going to attract this new year? – How you are going to apply what you have learned above and how it will help you achieve this goal?
Here are some ideas or examples of how to attract more customers:
Contact ‘Groups’ in your area on a daily basis. Not all in one day of course, rather maybe 5 in a day if that is attainable. More or less pending on your contact and presentation.
This is important. Do not use a person to deliver a flyer to a business owner and expect them to respond. Those go in the trash at every level of management. I do realize that some levels of management are very hard to have a meeting with. However, if you can send an email. Straight to the point in two sentences and ask for a good time to discuss business propositions further.
(Respecting the CAN-SPAM Act) Maybe your business is not set up as a such. O.K. there are other sources of marketing.
The dreaded Cold Call, industry associations, Chamber of Commerce Business Mixers, Etc. To suggest a few.
Whatever the case may be; your point of contact, be it a business card or website commercial, needs to be to the point.
IGE: My business card states; “Helping businesses communicate with their clients.” -NetCommercial.Net
Keeping track of your contacts is Essential to your Business Plan
Your contacts need to be ‘tickled.’ Many studies show that a client needs to be contacted many times before they will say yes. As babies, the first word we learn is No. So there is some programming that needs to be overcome due to that. A ‘trickle or tickle’ campaign needs to be implemented. No’s need to be tickled as well as do the “let me think about its”. You see there is nothing different between a No and a “let me think about it.” Except at least the No is able to make a decision, which by the way can be changed on a daily basis.
Do not cut yourself short with the No’s, they too need follow up. This is why you should have generic drafts drawn up to make it as painless, yet effective as possible when following up with a no. Yes, I stated to follow up with a no. Except when you follow up with that no you are going to ask why they said no, without trying to change their mind.
Only they can change their mind. However you can be at their front door when they do, and if handled tactfully you may even have a relationship when they do. The only time you remove a contact from your tickle/trickle list is when they scream at you to remove them! Otherwise you are only ‘getting in front of them’.
Try something to this effect when following up:
“Thank you for your time the other day, Out of curiosity why did you say no? I could only guess that you may feel that since you handle all your (_???_), no one knows your business as well as you do. Yet, when I am hired for what I know. I am able to help others in your same situation. Due to being an outside observer, who can provide a perspective NOT available to someone on the “inside.” Maybe on my next time around we can discuss this further?”
Not only have you given them solid advice on why an outside opinion is of value, but you have forewarned them you will contact again. Your next contact won’t be a surprise and instinct will have them wanting to ‘pump’ you for that info that people pay you for. Now your job is to set that appointment.
Marketing Material is Part of your Business Plan
When you finally do have “that” interest you are going to need supplies.
You are going to need marketing materials with you ready available the minute asked. Like a business card, brochures, website address, a link to a video spot to ‘sell the sizzle‘. That comment about my business card above is really an important point. Most of us doing business at a level are in our 40’s some of us older then that. The first thing to go is our eyes. I, like most of us, am not interested in fancy font and a certain shade of color. I want a business card for one, readable and to the point. ~Exceptions are a trademark color.
IGE: A website commercial, I am always trimming them down. A client will come to me with say 2 minutes of an idea (really 5 minutes of fluff) but I chat with them share some studies, offer examples and they too agree. Short and to the point is best.
A website commercial basically takes all the excitement and information and bottles it into a 45 second video. Selling “the sizzle” and getting to the point.
~How you describe yourself is how others will ‘frame you’ and describe you to others.
Ask for Work or Ask for an Opinion?
Reason would stand that if you are looking for work, you ask for work, right? No…People do not have time and are really not interested in giving any time up, to then just give you money after already giving you their time. Hence the No’s and the ever so polites, ‘let me think about it’s’.
Conversely, if you approach your business plan a bit differently you may find others are willing to spend a little more time with you. Helping you build a relationship with this person and in turn being in front of them when the time arises.
So instead ask for their opinion. EVERYONE loves to give their opinion. Like a Belly button every one has one.
Most, when at a business mixer would ask a business owner / Peer what they do, and how they like it?
Well we all know it is great and it is their calling? Instead, how about this approach: “What is your opinion on widgets? (Your Brand or Service genericaly speaking of course.)
IGE:In my case it would be; “What is your opinion on website advertising? Do you like animations or the likes of?”
I think the responsive reply will be a bit more candid then if I were to come up and say; “I make commercials for websites. Do they want one, or could they use one?” What do you think the answer is to that one? MmmHmmm…. NO! However if we spoke of websites they liked and ads they found entertaining, how they could recall the product or service easily and then told them, that is what I do…. Maybe the reception might be a bit warmer…
So You Have a Relationship Started
If you are an active listener you would know what interests them beyond their job. On that note, most of us have a business card and we do an exchange upon departing from one another. I would recommend you take a moment to write on the back of their card (This is why I like plain cards with a white back on them.) Write down what their interests are, if you were in their place of business and you saw they are Formula 1 fan or a certain Football team, etc. Then when you tickle them with your first or second email campaign, it has information that is pertinent and interesting to them. Not the ‘ol sell, sell, buy, buy, that we all get, everyday.
Instead share an interesting article pertaining to their interest and at the end, ask for a referral. It’s almost the same as asking for business after all you were only sharing something you had thought would interest them…
On a final note, publish your price$. Unless you are doing something that is really hard to put a price on, you should have a range available. Like Netcommercial.net I have a basic price to give a business owner an idea of what it would cost to get started working with me. 399.00 for a basic starter website commercial business plan.
TIP* -I have asked numerous people about disclosed prices, commissions, etc. ALL state, that it is an insult to their time if a company cannot provide a starting price, or an estimate before going through a presentation; or worse yet, having to set an appointment.
In closing I wanted to share with you a guide to goals and some ideas to help you with your business plan. An outline for increasing business with a plan. After all that is what I do. “I help businesses communicate with their clients.” I know it was a long one, but it is what most pay 100’s for at a 4 hour seminar.
If you are going to comment below please use the phrase business plan. This way I know you are a real commenter.
Please leave a comment as I love to read your opinion(s).
“When they’re Surf’in the Net and you don’t want them to forget!”