Plan Now to Execute in 2019
It is now December 2018. Have you started to think about what you want to accomplish in 2019? It is time not only to set your goals, but it is also time for you to come up with a plan that you can and must execute to achieve those goals. So many business leaders are good at setting goals, and some even are able to come up with execution plans. However, failure can be guaranteed If they are nicely packaged in a folder and put in a safe place and not executed.
As all of you are aware, there are hundreds of articles on the internet that talk about how to create a business plan. This article is not one of them. Instead, the focus of this article is information from experience on mistakes that we all often make that either make a plan un-executable or in some way causes a business to fail.
The common elements that are often talked about as essential elements of a business plan are Executive Summary, Business Description, Market Analysis, Organization Management, Sales Strategies, Funding Requirements, and Financial Projections.
Let us look at each one of these.
Executive Summary. This summary should be easy to understand. It should be written in a way that an investor can read it and immediately have a good feel for the product or service that you are planning to provide. You may not be needing an investor; however that is the way it should be written. An excellent way to start the process of writing is by starting with the elevator speech of your business. What business problem are you trying to solve and how is your approach feasible are two questions that must be at least hinted at.
Business Description. The mistakes that I have seen usually have to do with vagueness regarding the product or service that the business is trying to develop and market. There is often no hint of any problem that the product or service attempts to fix. Usually, it is because no business case is actually formulated anywhere. The idea that “if we build it, they will buy it” is only real if you have an established brand like Apple and are able to create a demand for the product.
Market Analysis. Make sure that there has been market research done. Technology does not sell. The product or service must have features that meet needs and provide more value to the customer than the purchase price. We have all seen the best technologies (and good products) not survive very long because the market analysis was not done and features not added that the market required. Examples of these include Betamax, IBM micro-channel computers, IBM OS/2. A market analysis is also essential from the standpoint of deciding what features should be in product or service. I know of one customer who went around doing private demos of his product. Whenever a customer asked for a feature, he would immediately ask his software development team to add the features. Some of the features took months to implement. There was never any market analysis done to see if more than one customer wanted any of the features. The result was that the development of the product cost seven times more than estimated and it was more than three years late. The product and the company failed as I had predicted.
Organization Management. Often there is no thought given to how a company is going to meet the organizational needs. I had one CEO respond to me with the words “well, if we are successful in selling the product, then we just have a “high-class problem.” The company had no support staff to handle more than a couple of support requests a day, they had no plan to how to produce anything in quantity, no production control, no vendor agreements in place, etc.
Sales Strategies. Many small companies have been so busy focussing on product development that they have no investment in creating a sales strategy. They may have a good product, but without a planned sales strategy, one cannot succeed if the marketplace today. Sales strategies should figure out innovative ways to be successful in a very competitive market.
Funding Requirements. Many small businesses have no idea of what it takes to develop a product and sell it to the point where they are profitable. I have had multiple customers pull the plug on development because it cost more than they expected —even though they were told how much it cost to develop a software application. Some folks just think about funding the development effort but do not the funding the support and the marketing that must take place. One must need to do due diligence to determine all the costs as much as possible before venturing to start a business. The same applies to you as you plan for 2019.
Financial Projections. Again, this is something that many small business owners do not worry about. We had one customer two years ago who did not have enough money to pay us for more than one month. When we quizzed him about it, his answer was, “I figure that after you start helping us, we will have money rolling in about two to three weeks and then we can pay you.” We did not take that project. In 2019 do you have a clear picture of how you are going to pay the bills? Do you understand the pitfalls?
Two guiding principles as you create a realistically executable plan for 2019 are
(a) Perfection is the enemy of “Done” and
(b) Understand your limitations and plan to get the help that you need to execute your plans and meet your goals for 2019.
Immanuel Consulting Services has experts in every area of business management including product development, manufacturing, system deployment, and marketing. We are here to help.
Contact Immanuel Consulting Servcies, LLC by emailing [email protected] or calling 919-283-9476.