03 Dec Your Small Business Plan: 5 Steps to Making Next Year Your Best Year Yet
In the last few weeks I’ve spoken to several dozen small and solo business owners seeking help. Every one of them represented the type of small business owner we work with—people who have are turning their passion, knowledge, ideas and expertise into a business helping and serving others. Every one of these people are smart, dedicated and good at what they do. And all of them are struggling day in and day out to get clients and make money. Without the right help, strategies and systems they will most likely remain stuck.
Not surprisingly, each of these businesses had very similar problems that needed fixing as soon as possible. These problems are caused by common mistakes I see over and over that stop coaches, consultants, authors, trainers, alternative health practitioners, and other self-employed service providers from getting all the clients they want and the income they deserve. What does it do to your emotional and mental state when you worry constantly about how to make more money or even how to keep your business open? How does it make you feel if you are just breaking even, especially when there are proven steps you can take to change the situation?
It saddens me to see simple problems that are easily resolved holding people back so I’d like to share some of them with you.
- Create a Personal Profit Process
People that struggle usually offer just a one or two products or services, like one-on-one coaching or an e-book. They don’t set themselves apart from all the other businesses that serve the same market. They don’t have a branded, signature process for which they are known and which sets them apart from the crowd, nor do they have a way to create multiple streams of income. An example of what I call your Personal Profit Process would be the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. People everywhere associate that process with its creator and he’s built a multi-million dollar business around it. You need to stand for something that makes you stand out.
- Create a Business Design
What products will you offer based on this process? How will you create a product line that keeps your clients buying from you again and again because you help them in a number of different ways? If this isn’t planned out strategically, then the result is that clients come in and out of your business like water passing through a sieve. A clear, well thought out strategic Business Design, mapped out visually with a process map, will help you know exactly what actions to take every day of the year and will dramatically increase your income. This is your big picture planning.
- Create a Yearly Success Calendar
Successful entrepreneurs plan out their business calendar for the year so they know exactly what products and programs they’ll offer, when they’ll be offered and when they need to implement the marketing for each. They figure out exactly how they plan to create the sales they need to make the income they desire. You can float through the year by the seat of your pants or you can create a calendar that leaves time for you life and keeps you focuses on achieving your goals.
- Fix your website
I see the same website mistakes over and over. Since much of your business will be generated online, your website is command central for your business. If certain elements aren’t in place, you’re leaving money on the table. Getting traffic to your website is useless if these visitors leave without taking action. Here are some tips:
- If you site was not professionally designed, chances are its obvious. Get some professional help creating a clean, contemporary template with links to your social media profiles.
- Make sure you have an opt-in form clearly visible when your web page loads and that you offer visitors something very enticing so they’ll fill out the form and join your email list. Just offering a newsletter doesn’t work anymore.
- Make sure you have compelling, customer focused copywriting and a clear, simple call-go-action on every key webpage. You can tons of traffic but if your visitors don’t connect with the language on your webpage and you don’t ask them to take action they’ll simply leave.
- Create a Profit Plan
To create a profit plan answer these questions.
- How much do you want to make in personal income next year?
- How much do you need to make in sales to achieve your personal income goals (sales minus expenses equals income—more or less).
- Map out exactly how many clients you’ll need to purchase each product and service you’ve listed in your Business Design in order to achieve your sales goals.
This is an eye-opening exercise and it will help you get crystal clear on exactly what your goals are.
Now it’s up to you. Will you continue to approach your business randomly or will you cultivate the habit of planning and make next year your best year yet.