When one talks about business planning, most businessmen think it to be preparing a business plan. However, little did they know that business plan is just a subset of business planning. In all, business planning is a wider term in meaning and scope. It is an ongoing process that requires strategizing, fine-tuning, monitoring, and aligning business tasks against its objectives.
Business planning is dynamic in nature. A businessman may require to create multiple business plans over a period of time. Let’s take a look at 6 tips that will help you focus on business planning. And will also help you keep focusing on your business and competitors at all times.
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Articulating the objectives is the first and foremost step of the business planning process. You need to list down all your immediate, short-term, and long-term objectives. Next, quantify them and express them in a precise manner – in a way that they can be measured and benchmarked. You can set objectives of goals for different verticals, such as Human Resources, Technology, Sales, Customer Services, Research & Development, etc.
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How you approach your business and tackle the forthcoming challenges much depends on asking the right question. What kind of leadership does your business require to go forward and achieve the stated objectives and goals? How will you structure the team? How many functions you will outsource and how many you will perform in-house?
How will you leverage technology to meet all your objectives? And improve profitability? What are the key factors that will help you to be always prepared for all the curves you might face in future? You need to ask these and a ton of other questions (relevant of course) and get their answers from time to time.
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Market means studying the customers, potential customers, competitors, and regulators. In simple words, study the industry and again set the benchmarks accordingly. If you wish to stay on the top of the game and be the best in the market in your niche, you need to know the current happenings and changes in the market. You can collect data on this and convert it into actionable insights.
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A business plan is not just to attract investors for funding. It is required to keep the team focused on a certain goal and give them an overall sense of direction. A business plan also helps in defining goals to chase for the business as a whole.
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Measure and compare the other players and competitors in the market and industry. You need to keep measuring your performance and compare it with the benchmarks set by you. Also, analyze the gaps if there are any. And in situations where you have exceeded your targets, it is important to know what things have worked for you. So, you can replicate the changes on a larger scale.
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Based on the data that you have collected, you need to correct your course. It is important to navigate the business through various challenges and use the collected insights to get new and fresh business opportunities. If you are not using and implementing the collected data, it makes no sense of collecting it in the first hand.
Business planning is like a map that takes you to the right path to your desired way. And in between, you keep collecting the data to further create new maps for your business towards growth and expansion!