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A business planViews: 140
Jul 09, 2008 4:40 pm re: A business plan - Where are YOU in your business cycle, marketing activities, etc.???

Natalie Clegg
Thanks Paul - I thought I would reply. You sounded a bit desperate! :)

I enjoyed reading this post about whether or not to have a plan etc etc. I am glad it was a sticky if only for a few days as I have not been a member of this network for very long. (Now I see it is not a sticky anymore.)

I think a Business Plan is critical to the success of any business. Just because some people did not write it down did not mean they did not have one. And yes, of course, business is flexible - it changes all the time, but it you're not careful your business can suddenly be in the "wrong" business.

This happened to me - despite the fact I had a plan, it was written more for the bank. Suddenly I had an order book full of clients that were wrong for my business and which we were not geared to deliver to properly. The order book was great, but it was chaos in the business and ultimately not very profitable. (The 80/20 rule began to apply - 80% effort and 20% turnover.)

I think any business plan should have at its heart - the clients you want to attract and the delivery mechanism to service these. I have since found a way to meet the need in the market for this type of client but through an entirely different way and through a separate delivery mechanism. But it was a hard lesson to learn and it took ages for me to "see" the problem. Duh!

There needs to be flexibility in any plan, but the business plan contains at the core the reasons for the business being there. Just getting that great mega contract could ruin the rest of the business. A Plan gives you balance, and gives you a clear head to sit back and contemplate where you are going.

Looking back at old plans, it is wonderful to see how much of what I had planned has happened. So it is important too to put a bit of a dream in there - as you can stretch to reach it. A plan is not for what you know is certain, but it is certainly where you want to go.

Also I keep an entirely separate Marketing Plan - as I believe the marketplace is moving very rapidly in a different way to what we have seen before and it needs a separate focus. I need to review that plan on a monthly basis and revise our approach.

I also think us business owners should have our own personal business plan - so that we retain some balance of input between business, self, relationships, values, behaviour, finances, homes, possessions and other interests etc etc.



Natalie

p.s. my websites are down if anyone is looking.

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