Basics of planning for business success
Creating a business plan helps you to act on business ideas and assess the impact of new initiatives, including both risk and reward. Some of the benefits of planning for business success include:
- Potential new investors: Strategic business planning can attract investors and new sources of funding. Investors are able to review your business plan and markers for success to make informed decisions about where to put their capital.
- Path for growth: When you set measurable goals for your business, you can identify what areas your organization excels in and what areas you could improve. Once you set goals, and teams begin working toward them, you can adjust your strategy over time to ensure the company is getting closer to reaching goals and achieving success.
- Improved company culture: When you make a plan for your business, align your business goals with your company’s mission. Doing so informs current and new company policies, which influences overall company culture.
Best planning practices for managers
Managers who do strategic planning should follow these best practices:
Create a strong business plan
A business plan is a comprehensive strategy that you can use to run your business.
It should have the following parts:
- Executive summary
- Mission and vision statement
- SWOT analysis
- Competitive market analysis
- Marketing plan
- Financial projections
A good way to begin your strategic process is to create a shortlist of priorities that the business must address in the year to come. Prioritize SWOT analysis, competitive analysis and a marketing plan that drives revenue through strategic initiatives that gain new business and encourage repeat business. Some examples of marketing campaigns are email lists and digital advertising. With an idea of who the competition is and what your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are, you should use that information to create an informed marketing plan that makes sense for your target audience as a key part of your business plan.
Businesses big and small should make a best practice of reviewing their business plans annually and updating them to reflect new goals and growth strategies.
Related: 10 Steps to Starting a Business
Assign metrics that define success
Metrics are values that quantify or qualify what success looks like in reference to a specific goal. Once metrics are defined, effective leaders will select key performance indicators (KPIs), which are a type of metric used to measure any quantifiable goal and determine the overall success of the company. They can be used for organizations or individuals and teams. They vary by occupation and industry, so you can set your KPIs by determining which statistics are most important to your business and applying those to create KPI metrics.
Ensure quality customer service
Great customer service can set your business apart from others in your industry. It can also turn a negative customer experience into a positive one where the customer feels they are valued and their issue reached an appropriate resolution.
One way to provide excellent customer service is to stay engaged with your customers on social media and review sites. This is particularly useful for responding to negative reviews in a way that incentives their return. This is a common customer service strategy for turning detractors into promoters.
Streamline hiring processes
Human resources departments drive the growth of a company through its hiring practices. When making a strategic business plan, think about ways to innovate HR practices, like the hiring and onboarding process. One such way is to invest in platform technology that simplifies HR duties by automating small tasks like screening and separating candidate resumes, scheduling and managing records. In doing so, HR professionals can focus on selecting the best candidates to grow the company.
Related: What Is Talent Acquisition?
Business success FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better plan for business success:
How do I write a business plan for success?
Follow these steps to create an effective business plan:
- Collect data and consider your company’s mission. Provide defining information about the company, create a SWOT analysis and complete a competitive analysis.
- Clearly define your organization’s goals, and create key performance indicators. You must first determine which statistics are important for measuring your goals. This will be the foundation of your business strategy.
- Highlight the strategies that will help you achieve measured goals. Start with your marketing plan, which should be a robust part of the plan. Then complete the financial analysis and executive summary.
- Re-evaluate your goals for each period. Regular analysis of goals can help you determine if you are successful and whether the needs and demands of the business have changed. You can evaluate your goals by using reporting tools that help you visualize and understand metric-driven data.
What kinds of metrics show business success?
Here are some common metrics that inform business success:
- Employee satisfaction percentage: Taking employee satisfaction surveys and measuring results can help you understand how happy your employees are with operations and company culture.
- New customers: Regularly measuring the number of new customers you acquire tells you how much customer growth your business has experienced over a period of time.
- Return customers: When you measure return customers, you learn how your customer service is performing to achieve customer retention. Provide surveys to previous customers who’ve used your customer service resources to identify areas of improvement.
- Net profit: This is the amount of profit after the working expenses are removed, which can be used to measure financial success.
- New potential customers generated: If sales is important to your business, you can track new potential customers, also known as leads, generated to see how many new contacts sales representatives are able to call on to make sales.