Analyzing Customers in Your Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Continued from page 1

The business plan must also detailrepparttar drivers of customer decision-making. Sample questions to answer include: 1) Do customers find price to be more important thanrepparttar 145741 quality ofrepparttar 145742 product or service? and 2) are customers looking forrepparttar 145743 highest level of reliability, or will they have their own support and just seek a basic level of service?

There is one last critical step inrepparttar 145744 Customer Analysis -- showing an understanding ofrepparttar 145745 actual decision-making process. Examples of questions to be answered here include: 1) willrepparttar 145746 customer consult others in their organization/family before making a decision?, 2) willrepparttar 145747 customer seek multiple bids? and 3) willrepparttar 145748 product/service require significant operational changes (e.g., willrepparttar 145749 customer have to invest time to learn new technologies? willrepparttar 145750 product/service cause other members withinrepparttar 145751 organization to lose their jobs? etc.).

It is essential to truly understand customers to develop a successful business and marketing strategy. As such, sophisticated investors require comprehensive profiles of a company’s target customers. By spendingrepparttar 145752 time to research and analyze your target customers, you will develop both enhance your business strategy and funding success.

As President of Growthink Business Plans, Dave Lavinsky has helped the company become one of the premier business plan development firms. Since its inception, Growthink has developed over 200 business plans. Growthink clients have collectively raised over $750 million in financing, launched numerous new product and service lines and gained competitive advantage and market share.

Why You Need a Business Planning System NOT a Business Plan

Written by David Coffman

Continued from page 1

The focus needs to be onrepparttar PROCESS not onrepparttar 145715 plan. If a continual, ongoing planning process is in place, a written business plan is just not important. Writing a business plan without a planning system in place is a massive effort that is done very infrequently. Many businesses write three to five year plans and update them annually. The plans are reviewed periodically during each year to analyzerepparttar 145716 plan vs. actual variances. Little, if any, thought is given to strategy betweenrepparttar 145717 annual updates. Strategy should berepparttar 145718 focus everyday. Setting up a planning system allows and sometimes forces you to focus on strategy. A planning system consists of two functions. One is a goal setting and attaining process, andrepparttar 145719 other is a trend watching or environment scanning process. Setting up a planning system takes several steps. The first and foremost task is to set aside or make time for planning on a regular, ongoing basis. It must become part of your routine, not an occasional event that can be easily postponed. Inrepparttar 145720 evaluation phase,repparttar 145721 owner or management team andrepparttar 145722 company are analyzed. Fromrepparttar 145723 analysis, key or critical areas ofrepparttar 145724 business are identified. These areas are filtered down to focus onrepparttar 145725 most important ones. Performance measures are determined and systems to gather and processrepparttar 145726 necessary data are set up, if needed. A base of current performance is used to set goals.

Nowrepparttar 145727 regular, ongoing stuff begins. Strategies are formulated, tested, implemented, monitored, and reworked untilrepparttar 145728 goals are achieved. Each planning session is split between working on strategies and trend watching. As goals are achieved,repparttar 145729 goal setting and strategy formulation process begins again.

Let’s putrepparttar 145730 focus back where it belongs on continuous, ongoing planning instead of writing business plans. As Karl Albrecht said in his book Corporate Radar, “The majority is not always right,repparttar 145731 conventional wisdom is not always wise, andrepparttar 145732 accepted doctrine could well be flawed. The more fashionable an idea,repparttar 145733 more it is likely to be exempt from critical evaluation. Breakthrough thinking sometimes calls for contradictingrepparttar 145734 most widely held assumptions and beliefs.”

David E. Coffman CPA/ABV, CVA has authored a number of articles, reports, white papers, and books about small business valuation and planning topics. He founded Business Valuations & Strategies in 1997 to work exclusively with small businesses in these areas. His “Power to Prosper Small Business Planning System” is available at

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