Running a business has its challenges. Many business owners have some strengths, but they also often have gaps in the skills needed to succeed. This is where making use of a mentor can make a real difference.
Most businesses spend a lot of time and money trying to win new customers, and not very much on keeping the ones they already have. But that can be the wrong way around.
It’s generally accepted that it can cost up to five times more in marketing expense to acquire a new customer than it is to get an existing customer to buy from you again; not to mention being up to 50% less effort and resource to sell to existing customers than to brand new prospects.
Time – and the lack of it – is undoubtedly one of the most challenging resources for any SME or small business owner/operator to master. When you’re striving to get your business to the level you want, it can often feel like you’re working long hours every day and trying incredibly hard for little return.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to want to take a “hands-on” approach to everything. However, while this work ethic is what inspires us to reach for the stars, it can also be holding us back.
I wanted to start by talking about the importance of having a business plan… for your business. I emphasised that last bit, because it’s vital to what we’re talking about - it has to be a plan for your business. You can have a standard format, but you should not have standard content. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for writing a business plan.
I often talk about the importance of knowing your ‘why’. What is the purpose or reason for being of your business? Why are you doing – often at great effort and expense – what you’re doing? You need to be able to answer this before you can even start your business plan. Once you have, then developing your business plan will be like a roadmap for your business to achieve your objectives and vision.
A thorough business plan is priceless for any business, and if you’re trying to grow your business in a crowded marketplace, it could be your biggest asset.