Nothing happens without a destination. Let's look at some easy ways forward to make a difference to your sales using a Business Growth Plan
Start with a 12-month overview.
You can reasonably see what you must do in the next 12-months, and that is where we start.
For instance, I want to increase the base of my customers in the next 12 months and maintain or grow the average spend.
However, to do that I need to put certain things in place.
I have obtained customers in several ways, so I need to either speed them up or add new methods.
Finding new customers
- Cold Calling
- Email Marketing
- Paid advertising
- Adding new products to the range.
I will look at the best values and work out a plan.
For instance, cold calling generates a lead every ten calls and 80% of those leads turn to sales.
I now break this down to monthly, weekly and even daily to find the number I want.
In my case, I used an Excel spreadsheet and inserted my values. I need to make ten extra calls a day to meet my target.
However, this will bring about other conflicting resources that you should organise ahead of time
Do we need extra people, telephone lines, billing resources, support issues and Installation procedures?
We won't need these on day one, but by the end of the year we will be stretching the boundaries, so we need to plan for that.
Cash flow planning is essential because it may involve the outlay of funds, and you must prepare for that.
Mine is a pretty straightforward operation, but if we were to double the takings in retail premises, there would be staff issues, stock problems and floor space needed. The points will all need to be in place in the months expected, so you are ready.
Planning is everything
If you achieve growth, it comes with complications; therefore, fill the holes before you arrive.
In our retail example, we may need to increase our stock level by fifty per cent. Not immediately, but certainly along the way.
Part of the plan will be addressing supply outlets. Can you get additional payment terms and more floor stock? Remember they are invested in this and will increase their sales as well.
We will start that negotiation in say month three and hope it is in place by month six. Therefore we plan for some time to do the activity and monitor the results.
The Pareto principle
Roughly speaking, this states that the 80/20 factor applies across most actions. Pareto and Wikipedia
80% of sales will come from 20% of customers, and 80% of problems will come from 20% of customers
Pareto tells us to concentrate our resources wisely and to ignore a section of our base.
I have even heard of businesses that exclude the bottom 20% from most activities to get a better bang for the marketing cost.
Find the issue and layout a solution
Business growth is an annual plan so that some things will be added in the months ahead of the need.
Floorspace may become an issue, so how do we resolve the problem?
Delete the current slow-moving range and replace it with better stock.
Action: As the stock has a three month lead time, place an order now.
Have a sale of slow stock or return to the supplier. When? Month three.
Purchase new racking, month four.
Flyers or advertising month five
Staff training and resources month six
Review and change.
Growth takes energy
From this simple example, you will see that you must plan steps or it won't happen.
You may have many steps like this, and that is why you must put it into a plan in a plan.
Planning to sell
It is not a bit early for this advice. It is something we do from day one.
Having a system in place covers all contingencies should you be removed from the front line for any reason. It happens so take insurance early.
By insurance, I mean for you to have a business that will go on without you regardless of the situation.
We see many businesses faltering when the owners are removed. I had a friend running a very successful automotive repair shop. Unfortunately, he was taken with cancer and passed quickly.
The family stepped in to try and run the business, and the result was a disaster.
My advice was to sell quickly and cheaply.
Nothing had been documented, and there were no systems that others could follow. The owner did it all for years and did not need to pass anything on.
They lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Other times away
Simple holiday times should not be a problem because everyone knows what to do with your written plan
Time away will include seminars and family commitments that will all take you away from the business.
If you are not growing, you are failing
A simple fact of life. The downside is a lot quicker than the upside, and it will overwhelm you quickly.
There are lots of ways to grow or even ways to count growth.
Improved Net Profit
Less contributed hours
Any or all of these may be contributing factors
The plan is for your time invested
It may take a day to do your plan, but it will save you a week along the journey. When you look at your day's activities, it is all in place, saving your time for better use and productivity.
However, the plan is not set in concrete. Stuff happens that you cannot foresee and you need to change with the times. Be active and flexible but stay true to your vision.
Let's recap your plan.
Decide what you want to achieve and spreadsheet the numbers.
Break this down into months, weeks and days.
List out all the changes needed and timeline them.
Allocate resources to this.
Monitor the results and complete your Business Growth Plan.
If you don't plan, it is never going to happen. Other important issues will dominate your day.
I do daily cash flow forecasts for the twelve months ahead that tie to my plan. I don't want to run out of money along the way.
A monthly review is done to see my achievements and correct situations early.
Your past performance can be a great judge of the future so look at the past for the peak and trough months that are coming up.
Finally enjoy the business because you now have a specific direction.