It’s an old saying but oh, so true!
Business startups don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.
About 80% of startup businesses fail within the first three years. Yet, of the startups that had a plan, and stuck to it, less than 10% failed in the first 5 year period.
So clearly, you stack the odds on your side if you take the time to map out your business strategies before you start your business.
But what plans should you be formulating?
There are three types of plans:
- The strategic plan;
- The business plan; and
- The marketing plan.
I believe that at the very minimum when you start, you need a business plan – at the very minimum. However I also believe that you should have spent some time looking longer into the future and made sure you have a long term strategic plan.
Whether or not you have a marketing plan depends on how much time you spent in your business plan investigating marketing strategies.
Watch this video explaining the different types of plans before you read below – and get your free One Day Business Plan Worksheet.
A strategic plan is a long term high-level plan. It usually runs over a period of 5 or more years and ensures that you outline and detail your vision, and how you are going to get there. Because of the longer time frame, it is not possible to be very detailed about your exact steps and actions. However, the main objective of a strategic plan is to describe the business direction.
A business plan has a shorter time frame. I usually advise annual business plans because you can rely on more accurate assumptions and work out more detailed actions you intent to take.
A business plan cascades from the strategic plan. For example in your strategic plan, you may have set a vision of operating internationally in order to meet your vision of being a world leading provider of training services. The strategic plan may well have set a number of milestones for this to happen. In your business plan you examine the shortest milestone and then detail the goals and objectives to get there – breaking these down into milestones as well, being those you will attain at the end of the 1`2 months, and outlining those that will take longer.
A marketing plan, of course, deals primarily with marketing. You may have spent some time in your business plan detailing the marketing activities you will do in the year, and this may be sufficient.
However, a good and useful marketing plan is where you take a close examination of your target market, and how best to reach them and cascade them into your sales funnel. This provides more focus on who you want to reach, what you want to say, and how you will create platforms to say it. My SMART Marketing Program is an easy 7 step process to create a highly focused marketing plan.
In my online video training course for people who are planning to start their own business, business planning is one of the modules of learning I include. It’s available from my website.
Finally, while you think you are not planning to fail – please, don’t fail to plan.
Then, come back here and put in the comments any thoughts you have about planning – see you soon!