Starting to Work on your Business Plan You now have the outline for a solid 10 page business plan. Three categories of information (in addition to your budget) should stand out as important:
What you are going to do: Goals
How you are going to do it: Strategy and Tactics;
When you are going to do it: Marketing Calendar.
Together, these items make up the bulk of your business plan. Probably the most challenging aspect of the exercise is choosing the tactics and the venues where you will execute them. Even if you don’t yet have venues, begin to set out a calendar, however, and then work to put some reality behind your plan. In each instance, plot against your goals. If you are going to have ten new clients in the first quarter, what tactics will you use to acquire those new clients? If you choose writing about travel, then in what venues will you publish your articles? What leg-work has to be accomplished to ensure your tactics come into being?
Exercise: Use the sample plan below to begin penciling in your own preliminary business plan. Be sure to discuss your preliminary plan during your coaching sessions and identify the points where you feel hindered or even stopped in your efforts. Below is a single goal set out. Think through your own set of goals and set out a plan for the year for each goal. What I am going to do Goal:
To have 24 new clients by the end of next year :
12 in the first quarter and four in each quarter thereafter
How I am going to do it and when -Strategies and tactics:
Speaking about travel
Work with the Tallahassee Seniors Center to talk about group travel - January
Work with 2 churches for Holy Land talks - February/April
Asana Yoga Center – group trip to retreat in Costa Rica-May
Grassroots Clothing Store – cross-market with owner for cruise wear-June
Benson Photography - Goway Safari program -May
Referrals – Set up a referral campaign to get existing clients to provide referrals - Ongoing
Networking; Begin volunteering at the humane society to provide services to my community and to make lots of new contacts. 4 Quarterly events (pet adoption events)
Public Relations and writing
Make contacts at local newspaper via Junior League
Offer services for travel articles/commentary
Now, work through the same exercise with each of your goals. When you do, you should have a very productive path forward.
Begin by looking at your financial position this year. In the example below the $250,000 of bookings you brought in earned you $30,000. It's your third year in business, and you feel pretty good about that number, but what could you do to earn more? 1. Could you increase your percentage of commission earned by moving to another split with your existing or a new host agency? 2. Could you increase the number of clients you are working with (growth) while maintaining your existing clientele (steady income)? 3. Could you increase the average booking revenue by looking for new revenue streams, a more affluent clientele, and working with more groups? Begin jotting down ideas for new marketing venues and tactics. Play with the numbers. Set a big goal for yourself and figure out what it would take to hit that goal.