How to Create a Super Simple Recipe for Business Planning: Part Two - Products
Business planning doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or overly technical. It does need to be carefully planned and detailed enough to provide accountability and effective measures as you progress. If you’re just joining, please review Part One where I summarized my method of creating an active business plan. We discussed the foundation and expectations for an awesome business plan: the Vision, the Hustle, and the Success.
In this section, we will dig deeper into what these sections require to make a clearly stated plan. Let’s assume you are an entrepreneur who wants to own an online shoe company [what/where] for women who wear sizes 9 and up [who aka your target market] because those shoes are harder to find with style [why].
The Vision should be as clear as possible. You know your idea (own a shoe company), where customers will purchase from (online), and you have a general idea of the target market for your business (women who wear sizes 9 and up). Now you need to discover how customers will find your business, how will you find your target market, how to sell your inventory, how much will starting inventory cost, and how will customers place/receive their order(s).
Researching your industry and target market will shave down a large amount of time. Things that you should research for your business are:
- Your target market's buying behavior (How often will they buy your products or services)
- Your target market's demographics (their age, their income levels, etc.)
- Competitors in your chosen market.
- Popular online shoe stores that you know
- New online stores that you don’t know of (Familiarize yourself with their business. Find out what they are doing well and what you could do better. This will help you find your target market faster and save yourself some time.)
Thanks to a newly digitized world, an online store has a lot of potential to grow. Your target market and competitors can be found with free marketing on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Your target market can also be found with paid advertising through Google Ads and Facebook. Remember, word-of-mouth never dies so that is free marketing as well! All channels are interrelated. Your customers can find you through the same platforms you use to find them. These techniques are similar for how a business locates its target market offline. Physically doing the “leg-work” offline brings awareness to customers by passing out business cards, attending networking events, and sponsoring fashion and trunk shows.
Now that all the basics have been recorded, it’s time to create goals, objectives, and strategies to implement. The material in this section will directly relate to all of the Vision section. Remember, you can tailor this plan for the needs of your business! In reference to our example of the new online shoe venture, we can start small and build as we learn and grow.
Objectives: List 3 - 5 short goals within the next 6 months to a year.
- Earn $XXX within the first year
- Create look-book for each season. A look-book is a presentation of pictures displaying different styles to market specific products.
- Gain 30k followers on Instagram and Twitter (combined) within the first year
- BRAND! BRAND! BRAND!
- Interact with customers
- Watermark everything that’s posted
- Print your logo on all letterheads, brochures, thank you cards
- Embed your logo in your emails
- Increase traffic by 5% each month
Strategies: Create action plans and implement them to make your objectives come to life!
- Optimize earning potential by increasing wholesale prices by 100% (double your wholesale price at a minimum) for retail pricing
- Establish large audience and platform on social media (Facebook, IG and Twitter)
- Develop a plan and vision board for the look-book
- Hire a professional team to bring the look-book vision to life (hair, makeup, photographer, model(s))
- Develop a website plan for web developer ( overall look, navigation, perks, desired customer experience)
- Publish a look-book online through paid advertising across social media and relatable companies
- Pass out business cards [create minimum per day]
- Sponsor local fashion shows with your target market
In addition to those goals that you will implement, you should establish a social promotion plan and implement those strategies such as:
- Post consistently on each social media site: FB, Twitter, IG, Pinterest
- Post engaging content to get genuine feedback from followers
- Use hashtags to get discovered by audience
- Implement brand across all platforms
- Genuinely promote relatable businesses such as fashion stores, fashion designers, and fashion bloggers to invite cross promotion
- Start a blog
This stage is a way to audit yourself and your business to enhance highly effective action plans and discard plans that were not so effective. Revamp and revise as needed!
Once you’ve created goals and objectives and implemented your action plans, you should see results, whether favorable or unfavorable. You are at the start of a legendary business, so be patient and take the time to build a strong foundation that allows you to earn great success!
Here are a few questions you should consider as a new business owner:
- Did I accomplish my 6 months goal? My 1 year goal?
- If so, how did my action plan achieve this? Whatever the answer is, KEEP DOING IT!
- If not, what could I have done better? Could I have interacted with my customers online more? Are my products well-designed and appealing to women in the marker? Is my pricing reasonable? Are my shipping rates too high?
If your business was profitable you should establish great business practices by recording your income and expenses incurred throughout the tax year. A great way to stay organized is using the 50/30/20 rule or balanced money formula for business budgeting. I discovered this budget model through LearnVest and Get Rich Slowly . I’ve included my own slight spin on the business income model below:
Once you’ve received net income (all income received less taxes and expenses), split the amount into 50%, contributing that amount back into the needs of the business operations. With these funds you can replenish your inventory or pay fixed expenses such as monthly bills to help your business operate successfully. The other half will be split into paid advertising or a paid investment that will get the business more exposure and your take home pay. Place 25-30% into reasonable investments that will help build and develop your brand. You can take a class, attend a seminar, or continue education with a new relatable skill. The other 20-25% is take home pay. If you find this to be an effective tool and remain organized with your accounting records, you’ll be able to remain consistent in building your legendary business.
Revamp any actions plans that were not successful and implement plans that could help the business operate more effectively. Take customer surveys, read all comments, and make the necessary adjustments to raise awareness and create the business you want!