December, normally a quieter month for me, has started with a flurry of activity from both existing clients and new contacts. It seems that everyone wants a strategic marketing plan in place for before January.
In the past it has been a bit of a struggle persuading small business owners of the benefits of planning so this small shift is a bit of a break through. The question I am more likely to be asked now is not; ‘do I need a plan?’ but; ‘what form should my plan take?’
It seems that many entrepreneurs are frighted that a plan will restrict them and stifle creativity. It’s an understandable concern; especially if they have been involved in the often bureaucratic and rigid planning processes undertaken in the corporate world.
I found this short video from Cranfield School of Management which I think makes several good points about business planning. In particular it advocates a mix of structured planning and actually getting out there and testing your business idea. It’s an approach that I tend to take with my clients; encouraging them to write down what they already know about their businesses, their market and competitors, their customers and so on and to think about what the information is telling them.
If you don’t have a plan and are still wondering if it is worth spending the time to produce one, I will leave you with this thought… according to research undertaken by Cranfield, writing the right business plan can improve your growth potential by 30%.
Need I say more?
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