This three-part series of articles has been breaking down the seven key steps of the strategic planning process, as explained in Brian Tracy's book The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success. Here are the next three steps in the process, the first article can be found here.
3. Analyze your market.
If you've worked in your target industry before, or work in it now, you might think you already have a clear idea of your market. But this step is all about figuring out how and why this market will be a profitable one for you to enter.
Take some time to lay out the specifics of the market you intend to enter.
- How many people does it contain?
- Are they united by a certain occupation, a certain income level, or some other common factor?
- How well do you know these people; what they need, what they think is cool, what annoys them, and so on?
Write down as many of these facts as you can think of, or can find out with some quick research. And don't forget to check out review sites to get a pulse on customers' feedback and needs.
After you've described your target market, the second part of this step is to explain how you plan to enter this market, and how you will outmaneuver your competition there. What will you do differently than any company that's entered this market before? Your answer to that question will prove invaluable in the months ahead.
4. Prepare for production.
Here's where you start to get into the nuts and bolts of your company's activities. Up until now, you've been laying out a general strategy, and describing your market in the abstract; in this step, it's time to describe exactly what you'll need in order to get started.
Write out a list of all the pieces of equipment you'll need to manufacture your products and perform your services – and note the cost next to each. Detail your facility requirements – any offices, factories, warehouses and other buildings you'll need to rent or purchase. Add up your requirements for raw materials, labor and expendable supplies. How will you arrange for quality control, packaging and transportation?
Describe your schedule and program for producing one round of your products or delivering one round of your services.
- Who needs to do what, by when?
- How much money will need to be spent, in total, to complete one round of production or service delivery?
- What contingency plans do you have in place if any steps of the process fail?
These are all crucial questions to answer now, before you start laying down any cash.
5. Design your marketing.
Marketing consists of a lot more than just advertising. It's also about the way you present your brand, the way your sales process functions, and all the other activities your company uses to guide people from initial interest to completed purchase.
Start by describing what features of your products or services you'll emphasize. The market analysis you prepared in Step 3 can be a helpful source of inspiration here.
- What do people in your market want to see in a new product?
- What needs of there aren't being met by your competitors?
- What can you do, in terms of branding, to draw attention to those features of your company?
In the third and final installment in this three-part series, we'll dive into the final two steps in Brian Tracy's strategic planning process, as explained in his book The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success.
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