Strategic planning is a systematic approach to developing a long-term vision for your company. To achieve success, you must define your objectives clearly and then create a plan to reach them, claims Kendrick Lamont Elkins.
A good strategic plan helps you identify where you want to go, why you want to get there, and what steps you need to take. This way, you can focus on achieving your goals rather than spending time on activities that don’t move you closer to your ultimate goal. Thus, if you don’t have a strategy, then chances are you won’t succeed. Your business plan must include these five components:
1. Know Your Market
The first step to starting any business is researching the market. Before you start, you need to know what kind of products or services you want to provide. Once you have determined what you want to offer, you will research the market to find out who is currently providing those services.
There are many ways to do this, including asking friends, family members, and colleagues if they use similar services. Another way to learn about the market is to attend local networking events where people share information about their businesses.
2. Choose A Name That Works
You may think that choosing a name for your company is a fun activity. In reality, coming up with a good reputation does not come naturally to many people. As much as possible, avoid picking names that are already taken. Pick a unique name; do some research online – you might find out that it’s been registered already, allowing you to take advantage of that fact. Kendrick Lamont suggests that when you name your company, keep the following points in mind:
- Keep it simple. Avoid overcomplicated names, mainly if your title contains numbers.
- Make sure the name doesn’t sound generic (like “The Company Store”).
- Use words that describe your offer instead of trying to fit everything in at once.
3. Find Out How To Create Your Brand Identity
Once you’ve decided upon the name that resonates best with your market, it’s time to start a brand identity, claims Kendrick Lamont.
The brand identity encompasses everything about your business — from the logo design, fonts, colors, social network profiles, and website to the promotional materials you use to communicate with your clients. A strong brand identity sets the tone for how others perceive your business and helps build trust among your potential customers.
Your brand identity should be something you’re proud of and make you feel great. It shouldn’t be something that looks cheap or tacky. It should convey professionalism and confidence. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some tips to get started:
4. Identify Your Audience
If you don’t know who you are targeting, how can you expect to build a business? If you don’t have a clear vision, you won’t be able to create a strategic plan for your business. To identify what kind of audience you want to target, ask yourself questions about where you would like your brand message to reach. What type of customers do you want to attract, and what kinds of products or services will help them accomplish their goals.
Do you want to attract female consumers? What age group does your product appeal to? How much money do people make that you can potentially sell to? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know exactly who you are marketing to and what they need. Then you can start thinking about providing value to those customers.
5. Define Your Message
What’s the story behind your business? How do you want others to feel when they hear about or work with your company? Who are you trying to reach; what type of audience do you need to attract? How does your brand stand out from the competition? Are there any messages you wish to convey? These are just some questions to consider.
You may have already answered them yourself. If not, think about what you really believe about your company and how you want people to see you.
Knowing how to create a solid business strategy before starting your business will ensure that you’re making smart decisions and staying focused on the long-term success of your venture.
Developing a marketing plan and brand identity will also give your business a competitive edge when attracting potential customers, concludes Kendrick Lamont Elkins.