Jim Blasingame, Small Business Advocate, has a website at www.smallbusinessadvocate.com and has an important new book out called The Age of the Customer. I’m on his radio talk show roughly once a month. As I was preparing this section for this book, I was on the radio with Blasingame talking about it and he referred to one of his newsletter articles, which he summarized as “You Say Your Business Plan Every Day.”
In that newsletter article he imagines the following conversation:
Me: Hi Joe. Heard you are starting a new business. What kind?
You: Oh, hi Jim. Thanks for asking. Yeah, John and I are going to be selling square widgets to round widget distributors.
You: I found out that no one has thought to offer square widgets to these guys. I asked around, and it looks like these guys not only NEED square widgets, but they will pay a premium for them.
Me: Sounds good. Where are you going to get your square widgets?
You: I found out that the round widget guys don’t need the perfect square widgets, so I am buying seconds, cleaning them up a little, and repackaging them for my round widget customers.
Me: Sounds like you found a niche. How many can you sell in a year?
You: We’ve identified the need for 15,000 this year, and with the trend in the market, we think we can double that within three years. Gotta go. See you later.
How long did this conversation take — two minutes from start to end? Let’s look at what was said. You identified your
- management team;
- business focus (your niche);
- customer profile;
- vendor profile;
- pricing strategy;
- market research; and
- growth plans.
See? You probably “say” your business plan every day, you just might not be getting it down on paper, or in your computer.
This kind of core value is one of your business drivers. This is a lot of what I mean by the heart of the plan, the elevator speech. If you’re normal, you’re interested in this, you think about it a lot, and you refine and revise it as necessary in a changing world, changing market. Build your business plan around this core, like leaves surrounding the artichoke’s heart.