Working with small to medium sized businesses is great fun. The entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and kicking, the desire to grow through being agile as well as professional is strong and whilst the numbers are ever so important, it doesn’t always feel like you are a slave to the quarterly report that needs to be sent off to an overseas HQ.
But being smaller than others doesn’t mean that you should cut corners. In fact, there is less margin for error, less cash reserves to support a misaligned sales strategy and generally a lack of resources to throw at any issue when (not if) it arises.
Planning is vital, it allows you to make decisions as to whether you should pursue a strategy or not. And if you decide to do so, a good plan will ensure that you are all onboard and working to the same goals. It also an essential tool to benchmark yourself as you progress towards your end goal.
A plan is not a static thing, constant review and analysis will deliver greater results.
As part of the planning process it is good to go back to basics. In this case, a list of questions given to a recent customer, challenging them to address key questions about a service that they wanted to launch quickly and document the details.
The purpose of this exercise was to ensure that all parties understood the new service offering, who it was targeted at and why they would benefit. From this set of simple questions, the basis of a plan can be started. It’s not the whole the process, but just the beginning.
What is NAME OF PRODUCT / SERVICE ?
What is unique about your offering?
Who are your competitors?
What challenges does PRODUCT / SERVICE address?
How does that differ from your competitors?
How does a business benefit from PRODUCT / SERVICE?
Is the benefit measurable?
Who buys PRODUCT / SERVICE?
What services are actually delivered?
Are there any existing marketing materials?
What do you want visitors to the PRODUCT / SERVICE part of the website to do?
How do you expect to promote your service?
How will you follow up with any sales enquiries?
What further support do you need from the marketing team?