I love a good networking do. Once I was afraid I was petrified, kept thinking I could never actually go to one as it meant walking up to people, flashing my winning smile and engaging them in witty banter. People I’d never met before! This was never going to be that easy because I’m a) British, b) a bit posh and c) rather shy, underneath the confident way I hope I come across. I keep thinking that someone will actually expose the real me one day but so far I think I’ve got away with it.
Anyhoo, this blog isn’t necessarily about networking, although it’s been on my mind in the last couple of days and I’m somewhat distracted. No names no pack drill.
I often ask fellow business owner networkers who they sell to (and yes, I know it’s “to whom they sell”. Shut up, already) but this often leads to discombobulation. Why wouldn’t you promote your services to anyone who’ll have them? After all, it’s income, whichever way.
Except it’s not. Why sell lots of small pieces of business when one big chunky one represents the same amount of income with massively less effort? And what sort of company or individual is most likely to write large cheques? Which sector tends to be the most responsive? And why? You know that you need to know this.
So OK. Have you done a Business Plan? Hmmmm?
I meet lots of people at networking dos who haven’t and sometimes (not you, of course) you can tell. A business plan is an essential tool because:
- It will enable you to describe accurately your business to customers, backers, suppliers and competitors.
- It helps you focus on what you’re doing and how you’re planning to do it
- It will help you identify: your skills, your service offering, your market, your segmented market (which bits of your service you want to sell to which sectors), your USPs
- you can establish the appropriate ways to promote your business, broken down into stages with time frames attached.
- It will get you funding, if you need it. And yes, the banks are still lending. They lent money to me because they really liked my plan.
A good business plan is a living document. You’ll be able to compare where you are now with a) where you thought you would be and b) where you want to be.
Oh Dear Now I Feel Baaaaad (This is me being you. It’s called role play)
OK. I will. I write business plans for people. I’ve written three of my own and several for my clients. I’ve got
25 years oh God I’m so old 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing and I’m very good at not only turning your ideas into well written, documented, tangible stuff, I can help you uncover aspects of your business you never knew existed, new people to sell to and most importantly…ways in which you can reach and sell to them.
I offer a series of intensive one-to-one sessions at which I ask you lots of penetrating questions, whilst looking at you over the top of my blingy reading glasses. Worth the price of admission alone, I think.
I’ve got documents to email you in advance of each of our meetings with tips on how to research your market, how to work out your profit margins, break-even levels, everything everything everything. I can’t be your financial-guru-soothsayer – you’ll have to do your own projections – but everything else…sorted.
There’s a certain way to lay out business plans; ignore the templates on the internet, they’re just annoying. I, Susan Beckingham, hand-holder extraordinaire have the fluffy-cloud, 24-carat template that even God complimented me on the other day. I made up that last bit.
The finished result will be astonishingly useful. You can show it to your bank manager, potential business partners, affiliates and associates,
your Mum but chiefly it’ll be the best way to tell the story of how you intend to run your business and ultimately, to earn more money.
Anyone fancy earning more money?
By the way, I can’t publish this blog without acknowledging the lovely Su Shanson in all of this, who is now a good friend. Thank you, Su. Thank you so much.
Susan Beckingham is a copywriter who knows about business. She writes business and marketing plans for people. Give her a call on on 01273 721 306.