As a CEO, president or business owner, you do a lot of talking, every day. You talk to customers, employees; with experts such as business consultants, attorneys and accountants. All to maintain a competitive business advantage.
Sometimes it may just feel like people are lecturing all the time. You may get just so tired of hearing:
- Did you write a business plan?
- Do you have a business plan?
- If you don’t have a business plan, you have to write a business plan.
Well, of course, having a plan is very important if you want to have a consistent competitive business advantage. If you’re a regular reader here of my articles you know my philosophy on business plans. Unless you’re writing a detailed plan to discuss a bank loan or additional company funding, what you want to have is a simple outline. A two or three or five page outline that you’re constantly looking at and updating can be an effective business plan. But there is still a step missing when talking about business plans.
The question is: How do you develop a competitive business advantage over your competition?
If you don’t think that question through; if you’re not thinking about the competitive business advantage that you have, then how in the world is it possible for you to write a business plan, because you don’t know what you’re writing?
You’re not writing a business plan as an exercise for busy work. You’re not doing it to make someone else happy. You’re doing it to have flow in your business. You’re doing it to put yourself in a position of understanding what needs to be done to make a profit. You’re writing a business plan to ensure your company has a competitive business advantage every day in this fast paced, ever changing business world. How else will your company survive and prosper in the short term as well as the long term?
To develop a competitive business edge there are two questions that you want to ask yourself.
The first question is:
What is my company good at? What do we do that we do better than anybody else?
The second question is:
Why do our customers buy from us?
Now, those aren’t business questions that you can take lightly. You have to really, really think about it. You need to talk to your sales force, your customer service department plus other people that you work with, there are customers that you’ve known a long time and maybe even professionally socialize with, that you can turn to and say:
- What do you think we’re best at?
- What do you think are our advantages over the competition?
- Why do you buy from us?
You need to know what your goals, your objectives, your visions are before you write the business plan, because if you’re just going off and doing this exercise without any information whatsoever, it’s pointless. Not only is it pointless it’s worse than that – it’s wasting time. The one thing that you don’t have is time to waste.
Every business day stands upon itself. People will say to me: I want to make a million dollars this year. And I’ll say: Okay, that’s great! I like that goal. Can you tell me how much that is per month? And the answer is usually that they don’t know. And then I’ll say: How much is that per week? How much is that per day? How much do you have to bring in per hour, per person that works for you in order to make that million dollar goal?
If you break things down into the simplest possible form, then you really get the answers you need.
That’s why I’m asking you to consider these two questions:
1) What is my company good at?
2) Why do my customers buy from me?
Because when you know that, you can structure not only your business plan and your sales plan and your marketing plan, but you can also take all of your marketing materials and can focus them in the same direction.
There’s something else you need to consider that’s very important. If there’s something you or the company isn’t good at, if there’s some reason that your customers aren’t buying, as a CEO, president or business owner, you want to know why, yes? Why do we want to know?
- Because you want to make it better than it already is.
- Because you want to become the best at what your company represents.
- Because you don’t want to have a struggle when you’re trying to sell someone because you’re pushing something on them.
- You want customers to buy from because your business can serve them well; your company can help them.
So if we don’t know the answer to what’s good about your business, then you certainly don’t know the answer to what’s keeping you from doing MORE business. You want to find out both of those answers so there is a balance to the overall picture of the business.
To accomplish this, here is what I suggest: Sit down, take a blank piece of paper or a document on your computer screen and work it through. See what you come up with first. Then start talking to people. Not only start talking, but start observing. Start observing what’s going on. Listen to how your employees are talking to your customers. Ride with the salespeople, read your marketing materials like you are the potential customer, like you’re the one buying. Give your marketing materials to someone else to read – it might be a friend whose opinion you respect, and say to them: What do you see here? Tell me what you get from this. Get an objective point of view about your business to give you that competition business advantage. Start NOW for MORE success and MORE profit!
To your success!
Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the United States to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Get MORE from your business! Talk with Howard: 888-738-1855.