In working with small business owners for many years I’ve learned that committing things to paper is hard for a lot of you. You probably didn’t like doing homework either. It was necessary, however, in order for you to move up to the next level.
It’s the same in business. Writing an Operating Plan is the result of having thought through all of its elements and deciding, at least for the short term, on a course of action.
Although I provide a template, each client has total freedom to change it to best serve their needs. Sam, who is a financial services provider, wrote the following Operating Plan for his business. I’m sharing it in the hopes of inspiring you to write your own.
Sam has the right idea at the very start. He knows the purpose of this business is to “have fun and make money”.
OPERATING PLAN – FY 2005
Have fun and make money for our clients and ourselves.
SA is the firm of choice for our clients, the employer of choice for our associates and our community, the investment of choice for our owners, and the model of integrity and continuous improvement for our profession.
SA is a financial partner that uses strong relationships and leadership to assist our clients determine their vision of the future and to creatively assist them to locate a clear path to attain that future, which includes protecting assets, minimizing taxes and building wealth.
1. Enhance Revenue.
2. Eliminate Debt.
3. Continuous improvement of named processes.
4. Delighted clients that reward us, appreciate us, acknowledge us, and refer us to their friends.
5. Autopilot practice.
6. Well paid owners
Message x credibility x visibility – Not only do we help you determine a vision for your business and then help you creatively achieve it we also insure your future by showing you how to 1) Minimize your taxes 2) Protect your net worth and 3) Enhance your net worth.
The MOMENT OF TRUTH (every contact with a client or prospect can help us build a relationship and provide leadership)
5 Year Goals
1. Annual Revenue Growth of 20%.
2. Zero Debt.
3. Written Procedures for all processes.
4. Client Satisfaction on survey of 97% or better.
5. Company trip as reward for meeting revenue goals.
1 Year Goals
1. A 3.1 to 1 Revenue-to-Salary ratio for the FYE 9-30-05
2. Reduce business debt from $32,048 to $ 17,500
3. Write-up billing of $21,000 a month by FYE 9-30-05
1 Yr. Plan of Action
1. Focus for 30 minutes, increasing to one hour each day, on the most important task.
2. Ask “Is what I’m doing right now leading to my major goal?
3. Take baby steps to the goal.
4. Each day read my purpose, vision, mission and day’s actions.
1. Cross Sell to existing clients
2. Staff involvement in the sales process
3. The Moment of Truth at any client contact, leaving with a plus sign.
4. Rewards for achieving goals.
5. Measure results and adjust actions monthly.
Tactics & Tools to implement strategies
1. Standard Operating Procedures.
2. Delegate, delegate, delegate
3. Communicate with staff so they can support plan.
4. Only work with clients we like who reward us, encourage us, and say nice things about us.
Skills Needed to implement strategies
1. Focus and concentration.
2. Daily study hour.
3. Refine lifetime habits.
Use my relationships and skills and my accumulated wisdom and sense of humor to schmooze clients while assisting them to easily reach their goals.
The best way to attract new clients is to serve our current clients extremely well.
Coach, leader, relationship builder, creator.
1. Fun, Time and Personal Freedom,
2. Relentless continuous daily improvement
3. Client focus and connection
4. Zero defects
1. Write Purpose, Vision, Mission & Values
2. Organize business to support these statements
3. Create a Plan to make the statements a reality
4. Set performance key indicators
5. Monitor performance key indicators
6. Celebrate success and adjust shortfalls
As Sam has learned, more gets done when you take baby steps than trying to accomplish the whole thing at once. That’s how he put this Plan together.
Here’s your call to action – seriously reconsider and then write the Purpose of your business as the first step.
TIP: Keep Your Commitments
I’m absolutely amazed – and concerned – about the lack of integrity I see in the small business marketplace. I know I’m disappointed and totally put off when people don’t honor their time, contractual and involvement commitments.
Are you keeping your commitments? If not, you’re setting yourself up to lose business.
Stand out from the crowd of losers. Keep your commitments.