Tuesday, June 22, 2004

10 Questions for Effective Business Planning

Today in Decker Marketing we look at the business planning and some of the questions which will help us plan better.

Entrepreneur posted an article called 7 Habits for Business Success by Brian Tracy, exerpted from his book “Million Dollar Habits”.

There’s one section of the article I really like…it’s the first habit: Plan Thoroughly. It lists 10 questions for better business planning…

Plan Thoroughly

The first requirement for business success is the habit of planning. The better, more thoroughly, and more detailed that you plan your activities in advance, the faster and easier it will be for you to carry out your plans and get the results you desire once you start to work.

There is a "Six P" acronym that says, "Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance." Very often, the first 20 percent of the time that you spend developing complete plans will save you 80 percent of the time later in achieving the business goals you've set.

To plan better, develop the habit of asking and answering the following questions:

1. What exactly is my product or service?
2. Who exactly is my customer?
3. Why does my customer buy?
4. What does my customer consider value?
5. What is it that makes my product or service superior to that of my competitors?
6. Why is it that my prospective customer does not buy?
7. Why does my prospective customer buy from my competitor?
8. What value does he/she perceive in buying from my competitor?
9. How can I offset that perception and get my competitor's customers to buy from me?
10. What one thing must my customer be convinced of to buy from me, rather than from someone else?

These are applicable in a small business or for managers in a division of a large company. Yet most managers don’t stop to ask these basic questions. Planning and strategy does not have to be left to expensive consultants -- you can just ask some simple questions and get paid a lot less!


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