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Archive - 2021

Get FREE weekly ideas to grow your business

1
What A Business Plan Can Do For You
2
Take This Marketing Challenge!
3
Delegate Your Way To Growth
4
Don’t Forget To Plan For Contingencies
5
Clean Up Your Business While You’re Quiet

What A Business Plan Can Do For You

If you own a small business, then if you haven’t already prepared a business plan, you will have heard of them.

If you have not prepared your business plan, it’s probably because you can’t see what it can do for you.

You may think your business is too small, or that you can manage everything within the time you have, or that you can’t look too far ahead because it’s unpredictable.

You may think that it’s too much bother – you know what you want to do and you’ll just take small steps until you can afford the time or money to aim bigger.

In response to that, let me ask you this: whether you have only just started the business, or if you have been in business for a while, is the direction and progress of your business:

  • going exactly where you wanted to go and there have been no missteps or missed opportunities; and
  • proceeding in a time-scale that is how you want to progress, not too slowly for what you want and not so fast that you are overwhelmed?

I believe if you are truthful, you would have to say that often, you are overwhelmed, that sometimes you are frustrated you can’t grow faster, and sometimes, you wish you were able to make decisions about what to do next faster.

Well, if you did answer honestly, then you should be interested in why a business plan can benefit your situation.

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Take This Marketing Challenge!

You run a business, and you know you need to do your marketing.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before – if you don’t market, you don’t sell.

But come on, everyone knows small business owners are busy.

We haven’t got time to do all this Business School stuff! We market by treating our customers right, by giving them what they want, and we market by painting a big sign outside and paying for an ad in the corner of the newspaper.

Right?

Well, I’m saying to you – not only is that not true, but that’s also not the kind of marketing that will bring people to your doors.

That is not the kind of marketing that will grow your business.

In fact, that’s the type of “marketing” that keeps you in your rut and keeps you too busy to do anything to grow your business, because that’s struggle-street marketing.

That’s the kind of marketing you do when you don’t know how to market and you go back to rely on what you know best – just doing what you’re doing!

You can market more effectively.

You can find the time if you do it scientifically and here’s how.

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Delegate Your Way To Growth

One of the discussions I always have with small business owners is about how “letting go” may actually help them to grow their business.

It is always a difficult discussion because it seems counter-intuitive that you can grow by doing less yourself.

Look, I understand, for someone who has bootstrapped his business as I have, it is hard to reconcile growing your business your way, with getting others to do it for you.

I mean, you’re the one who knows how to do things right, aren’t you? You’re the one who works extra hard when that’s called for. You’re the one who has to figure it out if something goes wrong.

And on top of all that, how can you really trust someone else?

But, I tell them, it’s not a matter of “trust”. You have to create a structure where everybody knows what they are doing and why they are doing it, within a collaborative structure where everyone benefits in some way.

So there is some work involved but it’s worth it because, without the ability to delegate some of your work and responsibility, you cannot grow.

Here’s why:

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Don’t Forget To Plan For Contingencies

If one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that you can’t predict the unpredictable!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about planning.

That’s why I preach about how small businesses need to prepare business plans. I write about marketing plans. If your small business was beginning to grow I’d be talking to you about strategic plans and risk management plans!

No, what I’m saying is that you must continue your planning habit and prepare your plans for your business so that you can look ahead, understand what might happen, and decide what you will do to take advantage of opportunities while mitigating the threats.

However, while you are doing this, your process needs to also understand that your plans must include contingencies.

This means identifying different, possible contingencies or scenarios.

You can certainly identify multiple scenarios and then plan for each eventuality, but I think that’s taking the attempt to recognise uncertainty a little too far!

The most practical way of planning for contingencies is to identify the most likely scenario (given what you know right now), identify a likely worst-case scenario, and identify a likely best-case scenario.

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Clean Up Your Business While You’re Quiet

OK, so it’s early January; you’re still full from the celebratory food and drink, and you may not have opened your business in the New Year yet.

Even when you open this or next week, maybe because of the usual holiday period and a little virus it will be a bit quiet in these first few weeks.

Well, instead of doing nothing, how about taking advantage of this and cleaning up some things in and around your business? Now is a great time to tidy up inefficiencies, catch up on some administration, finish those new ideas you have, and make plans for the future.

Here are some of the things you can do around and in your business when it’s quiet.

First, you can sit quietly over the next couple of days and prepare your business plan for the coming year.

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