“Using basic strategies for success in the new year” 

In last month’s issue of Florists’ Review, I shared some end-of-year planning shortcuts, and one of the most important things I suggest you do is revisit your business plan. If you haven’t made the time to update your business plan, I have some tips to help you get started.

Remember: A business plan must be current so you’re clear on where your business is heading.

It’s not easy to run a forward-thinking business based on a business plan you wrote a decade ago, and frankly, when you run your business without a plan, you can end up drifting around for a while without a clear path. A business plan is like using GPS; it’s easier to get where you’re going once you enter a destination.

The best way to approach a business plan is to focus on defining the most important parts of your plan so that you can put steps into motion that will put you in the best position to sell, market and brand your business. If you’re not sure where to begin, use this shortcut to refresh your business plan. So grab a pen and a notebook, and schedule a little time to map out your plan.

Here are six business plan basics to help you get started on your updated plan: Introduction, Vision, Objectives, Strategies, Goals, and Product and Service Description.

First things first: You need an introduction to the plan.

• Who are you, and what do you do?
• Date of your business launch, who wrote this plan, where are you located?
• What type of business are you (sole proprietor, LLC, S-corp, etc.)?
• What’s the purpose of this plan? (What are you going to do with it? What’s the intention of writing this plan?)

Then, every business needs vision for the company.

• Where are you headed?
• Where will your business be in three, five or 10 years from now? Define your mission and values:
• What is your mission statement?
• What are your company’s core values?

Next, list your objectives.

• Why do you have this business?
• What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T.s)?

 Then, map out your strategies.

(Consider this your “how” as in, How does your business run?)
• Offerings – What do you sell (products & services)?
• Markets – Who’s in your market? How do you define this?
• Sales – How do you make sales?
• Operations – What’s your process/procedure?
• Management – How will you accomplish the work?

Moving forward, what are your targets and goals?

Describe Future Goals:

• Annual sales – What’s your sales goal? (You can set a “big goal” and a “realistic goal.”)
• Profit margin – What is the profit margin?
• Bookings – How many weddings, events, daily orders will you book to reach your goal?
• Expansion/growth – What’s your target? Describe Your Present Status:
• Where is your business now?
• What have you already accomplished?
• Describe a recent success story. (Celebrate this success no matter how big or small it may seem!)

Last but not least, list your products and services:

• Describe your product and service offerings in detail
• What do you offer to your clients? Consider competitors’ offerings:
• Describe the offerings of your direct competitors
• What value do they provide?
• How are you different? Analyze market research:
• What’s happening in your market?
• How do you compete in the space?
• How much do clients spend on your product in your area?

Don’t let a fear of writing a “complicated business plan” prevent you from planning for your future! It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3!

1. Define where you want your business to go (vision and goals).
2. Make a plan for how you’re going to get there (objectives and strategies).
3. Follow that plan to reach your target.

Remember to update your plan as you continue to reach new heights. As your business grows, so should your plan. I hope you’ll take these business plan basics and create a path for a successful new year!
And, as always, keep doing beautiful work!