A good coach would never send players onto the field without a strategy. And as a business leader, neither should you. It's your job to develop a game plan that sets you and your team up for success. But as many coaches know, you might have the perfect plan on paper, but it's worthless if it's not properly executed. Below are some tips for creating — and sticking to — a solid game plan that will push you to victory.
Mark Your Territory
Do a meticulous market analysis before developing your strategies. Once you've done that, you're better prepared to identify your target market. Then, size up your competitors with a competitive analysis. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will help you create your own strategies — allowing you to carve out your own segment of the market.
Your business plan will involve a lot of conjecture, but make sure you're not just spitballing. You will have to make assumptions about things like customer purchasing behavior and acceptable pricing, but put some research behind your assertions. Otherwise, if your estimations fall far from reality, your plan may start to unravel.
Focus on the Financials
Think of the financial section of your business plan as the backbone and ask yourself a few key questions: What are your investment and revenue plans over the next five years? Where will you invest more? What assets must you acquire? The answers to these questions will help you formulate a precise plan and pave the way to make your strategy a reality.
I'm not saying "don't shoot for the stars," but if you set goals like tripling your profits in six months, then you might be in for some disappointment. By setting achievable objectives, you can set yourself up to make progress and, eventually, blow past even your loftiest goals.
Use Your Playbook
It might sound like common sense, but once you've developed your business plan, use it! Consider sitting down with it quarterly to review where you thought you'd be and where you actually are. This is also a good opportunity to remind yourself what inspired you in the first place.
Make It a Team Effort
When you return to your plan, make sure you do it with your staff. Let them see the roadmap you've developed and ask them how you can all get there together. The more invested everyone is, the more your plan can come to life.
Once you've revisited your plan, you may discover that you're in a different place than you had projected. That's OK! You can still use your plan as a guide to make adjustments to get things closer to where you wanted them. If some of your assumptions didn't pan out, it's perfectly fine to use your plan as more of a jumping off point than a strict rulebook.
Now get out there, run some plays, and watch your business plan come to life.