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    1. wholesaleinsight's Avatar
      wholesaleinsight is offline

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      Oct 2009
      United States
      United States
      1,936 Times in 58 Posts

      Reinvent Your Business Plan in the Information Age

      One of the first things that a student learns in economics class is that markets are responsive. They can shift rapidly in response to consumer demands or fears. This begs the question- if markets are so fluid, why is your business plan still the same as it was on the day you started your business? It may be the rock upon which your business was built, but that does not mean that it is carved into stone.

      Go ahead and take this opportunity to pull out your business plan. If the pages have yellowed and the ink from your quill pen has started to fade, this might be an indicator that it is time to consider updating your plan. It is not only a good practice to revise your business plan regularly, it is an essential step in making sure your business is prepared to weather these tough economic times.

      The major parts of a business plan are the executive summary, business description, market analyses, management, operations, critical risks, and financial projections.

      Unless your business has undergone major changes, your business description should be largely the same, so we will first focus on the market analyses. How has your primary market changed since you last updated your business plan? Take a look at who has been purchasing your product or service. Is your consumer group still the same, or has another group become your best customers? If the latter is true, you might consider revising your plan to focus more on addressing their demands.

      Included in the market analysis is a breakdown of your competitors. Have any of your original competitors gone under or have new competitors entered into your market? Determine any threats that your competitors pose and adjust your business plan appropriately. If they have been cutting into your market share, do some recon into what they are doing to pull business away from you.

      Once you have taken a look at the market, figure out your marketing strategy. Like any advertising campaign, the goal is to get the most bang for your buck. Look at whether or not your advertising money is being used effectively. Even if it is working, are there ways to reach more potential customers?

      With the democratization of the internet, there are now many low cost methods of advertising. If you dont have a website or arent using social networking sites to drum up business, you should really consider taking advantage of these mediums. Social networking sites, like Facebook, are a great way to pull in potential customers. The beauty of the Like system on Facebook is that it spreads the word about your business faster than gossip through a high school hallway.

      After you have addressed your marketing campaign, take a look at your finances. If your business plan has not been updated since you opened the company, update the hypothetical numbers in your business plan to the actual numbers you have obtained. By looking at the real numbers, you can begin to address where your money is coming from and where your money is going. Break the company down into its basic pieces and analyze them individually. Even if the business is doing well as a whole, there may still be places where you could improve. If there are parts of the company that are costing more than they are generating, try to figure out the reason.

      All of the above changes will play into the changes to the management and organization section of the business plan. You are the top of the management system, so figure out what direction you would like to see the company go and work from there. Implementation is the key to any successful plan. Address how you are going to incorporate the new parts of your plan. Finally, make any necessary revisions to the executive summary. Now that your new goals are all on paper, dont just continue down the same path you were on before. Make the changes happen.
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    2. Thank you for this post:

      wish (10 Dec 2010)

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