Planning for the launch of a new business can seem stressful but it's actually very straightforward, as long as you follow some tried-and-true steps. In this three-part series of articles, we will break down Brian Tracy's seven-step outline of the strategic planning process, as laid out in his book The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success. Here are the first two steps.
1. Define Your Concept.
Before you can design your strategy or prepare to launch, you first need to know what exactly your business will be. Don't make the mistake of thinking you don't need to write any of this down. As Brian Tracy says, “If your goals are only in your mind, they are invariably jumbled up, vague, confused, contradictory and deficient in many ways.” Take the time to define those goals clearly right now.
In a few words, explain the reason why you're launching this business. In other words, what problem do you hope to solve and for whom? Next, describe how these activities will generate profits, not just that people will pay for them, but when and why people will pay for them. Ask yourself why people will buy from your company as opposed to one of your competitors. What other companies are doing similar things right now and why can't they do those things as well as you?
Once you are armed with the answers to these questions, you will be in a much better position to work through the next six steps. Keep in mind that the quality and specificity of your answers to the questions above will serve as the foundation for all your other answers; take the time to write out a variety of ideas, then cut them all down to a few short, clear, precise sentences.
2. Lay out Your Objectives.
Here's where you begin delving into your concrete business objectives; the benchmarks by which you'll measure your company's growth and success. This isn't so much about hard numbers as it's about time lines, schedules, and dependencies.
Start by explaining what goal you hope your sales will achieve, not just “to make money,” but a general idea of how much money you realistically expect to make. What justifies these predictions? Do you know people will pay a certain amount for the products and services you will be offering? Are you sure that your customer base will be a certain size? How soon do you expect your business to become profitable?
Also, sketch out some time lines for each of those objectives. How long will it take to get your initial products and services ready to sell? How soon will you be able to reach your initial round of customers? How long until they're satisfied enough to refer more customers your way? Preparing a detailed time line now will save you loads of stress during your actual launch.
That's all for this first article in this series on the strategic planning process. Join us next time for Part 2, where we will walk through the next three steps in Brian Tracy's approach to strategic planning, as described in book The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success.