Making your business plan a reality
Creating your business plan is just the beginning. Learn the next steps to making your plan come to life.
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Hi, I'm Tegan Jones for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today, we're discussing how you can make your business plan a reality. Joining me is Melinda Emerson, the SmallBizLady and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. Thanks for joining me, Melinda.
I'm so happy to be with you today.
So, Melinda, I know that drafting a business plan is one of the first things business owners have to do when they're starting out. So, once you have your business plan in place, how can it help you build your business?
Well, you need to use it to make business decisions, particularly around your finances. You want to make sure that you have a business budget in your business plan, and that you're not making "willy-nilly" decisions because some email came about some wonderful conference that you think you should go to. You have to refer back to your business budget and say, "Do you have budget for travel to go to the conference?" If you don't, you already have the answer to your question.
The other thing you want to do is look at your marketing plan, because your marketing really is the engine that drives your business. That's how you get customers in the door. And you want to look at what activities you have planned for your marketing, so that your business can move forward in a positive direction.
So, you first need to look at your business plan, and then see if your ideas align with those plans. That makes a lot of sense. So, once you decide yes or no, what do you do next?
The next thing you want to do is run it by an advisor. I always tell small business owners that they should have a "kitchen cabinet" of advisors for their small business, and the first person in this group should be someone who's already an entrepreneur.
The second person should be someone who is doing business with you, or could do business with you. The third person should be a mentor. And if you don't have a mentor or advisor for your business, there's a wonderful organization called SCORE that has free advisors, and you can work with them online or in person, depending on what city you live in.
And then the fourth and fifth person in your kitchen cabinet of advisors should be someone who is an accountant, and someone who is a lawyer. And the reason why you have these people around you is because they're invested in your success, and they will give you honest feedback about your plans that you have for your business.
So, if your team of advisors signs off on your plan and says it looks like you're going in the right direction, what are the next steps that you would take?
Well, now it's time to create your to-do list. And I'm big that you should have your 30-day to-do list, because really, I don't think you should plan further than a month out in your business, really, in terms of revenue. You want to focus your business activities around how much money you need to make every 30 days, because if you know how much money you need to make every 30 days, you know how much money you need to make each week, and that really will help you narrow down your activities and your marketing, and how you spend your time and your dollars in your business.
So, once you've got the next steps planned, and you really think that you're going in the right direction and you start making some changes, how can you tell whether what you're doing is actually really bringing the value you had hoped for to your business?
Well, you have to measure your outcomes. You shouldn't just throw money at a marketing tactic without really knowing what your goal is for it and what success looks like. So, you want to make sure that you're measuring any marketing activities that you're undertaking, so that you can make any adjustments that you need to, and it'll help you align where your business is going. Because, again, you always want to go back to your business plan and adjust it, based upon what's working or not working in your small business.
That makes a lot of sense, Melinda. Thanks so much for your time today. You've really provided us with some very valuable insights.
I'm happy to always talk about how to run a successful small business.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.