Submitted by Steve Martinez
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Writing A Winning Business Plan
First - stop thinking like a business owner. I know, you might think this is odd. However, the reason most business owners don't write a business plan is because they are too close to their challenges and can't decide what they need to do. Stepping out of character will help you see the big picture and the little details so you can focus on what to do.
Since this was written during championship football season, I want you to assume the role of a winning college or professional sports coach. It doesn't matter if you are a woman or a man for this job. The goal will be the same. You will want to prepare your team to win the championship game by as many points as possible. If you have trouble with football, pick any team sport and the concept will work. The idea is to get into the character of a winning coach to help you create a plan.
Think like 60 Minutes is all You Have
A football game is divided up like a business year. There are four quarters and two minute warnings you must plan for. You will need plays and actions for kicking things off, receiving special team opportunities and think offense and defense to win.
Understand You and Your Opponent
Winning coaches invest time to research opponents and you need to determine both your strengths and weaknesses. If you don't take time for this, you will get clobbered by the other teams. Use this research and analysis to formulate your complete game strategies and special plays.
Plan For Special Plays
Every team will need specials plays to kick off, receive, punt, and defend the red zone and two minute warning. These are special opportunities you have in the year from new equipment, vendor specials, trade shows or open houses you can plan for.
The Offensive Game Plays
You will need a list of offensive running and passing plays to execute during the game. These are easy to think about and you must plan for them.
* Action plans to start a new business relationship and move forward. * Actions to build a stronger customer base. * Actions to generate referrals for new clients from existing ones. * Open house and networking actions you will execute for new business.
The Defensive Plays
You will need a list of defensive plays that protect your accounts and seize opportunities. These could include a blitz or a pass rush that capitalizes on an opportunity.
* Action plans that develop satisfied clients and builds strong relationships. * Surveys that will help determine if you have new opportunities or lost business. * Monitor and track competitive actions that may impact your current business. * If you can, have contingency plans for injuries, bad calls and penalties in the game.
I hope you see the advantage of planning from a different perspective to make your sales plan fun and much easier to write. Your business plan doesn't have to be 20 pages long. You need a single sheet that covers the actions you will take to win the game in your business. When you finish writing your business plan, it should be on a 12 month calendar with goals and objectives for each quarter.
A complete game plan makes it easier to adjust actions during the game and in your case, the business year so you can motivate your team throughout the year. If you need help with your plan, I suggest you take time to watch a championship game. Think of it as research. You will be done with your sales plan sooner than you think and it will be fun.
Written by Steve Martinez, President of Selling Magic.