Friday, January 4, 2013

Seriously . . . Another Post About Business Plans?

As I’ve said ad nauseam, before I agree to work with a client on marketing strategies, they need to have a business plan in place. And from my experience, 99% of them currently don’t have their business infrastructure put down on paper or it hadn’t been updated in many years.

If you have been following my blog, you may be wondering when am I going to move on from this topic. Before I do, I wanted to share two different experiences my clients had while writing their business plan.

Let’s start with Client #1: She is a life coach, who stepped away from her business for a couple of years and wanted to jump-start it again. Even though she had the practice for several years before her break, there never was a business plan or marketing strategy in place. Initially, she took on the project with excitement and energy. The first few attempts needed to be fine tuned and I returned each copy back to her with questions that would help make her entries more specific.We hit a rough patch when I encouraged her to find the one key thing about her business that made her different from all the other life coaches. It took her several weeks but she came up with a new area of expertise that was quite impressive and set her apart from all of her competition. I got caught up in her enthusiasm.

Then in a puzzling turn of events, she cancelled our work session and didn’t return my call or email. Not taking it personally, I chalked it up to the festivities of the holidays and knew I’d hear from her sooner or later.

When she did call, she explained that while really examining her business, she discovered that she no longer wanted to pursue being a life coach. She had signed up for some classes in a field that she had always wanted to explore and was going to focus on that. 

So in this case, going through the process of writing the business plan brought on an epiphany for my client and lead her in a totally different direction.

Client #2 is an independent publisher who is restructuring his entire operations. While doing a bit of research of his competitors, I discovered products and services that he wasn’t actively promoting to his clients. Some of the items he was offering in his repertoire, but wasn’t seeing them as services to be offered. In addition, he found some new ideas to introduce to his clients.

This is an example of a company being able to expand their business potential by adding and enhancing their products and services by simply going through the process of developing a business plan.