Five essential aspects of business planning

By: Jamshed Chaudhary

Date: 22 January 2019

Five essential aspects of business planningStarting a business is easy - but running it efficiently, and successfully, is a difficult task. Entrepreneurs often start their businesses without a clear plan in place. Things work perfectly well initially - but soon the business fails to keep pace with market demand, runs into cash flow difficulties, or suffers other unexpected troubles.

You need to have a clear idea of where your business is going and the risks you may face, so that you can effectively plan for the road ahead. Most importantly, you need to have a strategy for growing the business in the long term.

Here are five essential tips to ensure your new enterprise has the best chance of success.

1. Know your target audience

Selling is the most important part of any business. Whether you offer a service or sell products, you need to ensure a steady - and growing - flow of sales.

Unless you know your customers and their needs, it’s really hard to convert potential leads into sales - and even if you do, you can't rely on them staying loyal to you. Based on your particular business type, you need to develop a strategy to attract and retain customers.

2. Look at your margins

Trust is the foundation of a sustainable business. Cheaply-priced products might sell like hot cakes, but if they don't last five minutes once the consumer gets them home, your reputation will suffer. Never compromise the quality of your offering to drive prices down.

At the same time, make sure you're making enough of a profit margin to ensure the sustainability of your business. Smart business owners find the right balance, where the quality of the offer justifies the price charged, and they can make a healthy margin on each sale.

3. Manage your cash flow

Cash flow management is one of the most important factors in safeguarding business growth. You need to manage your money like the experts in the forex trading industry do.

Many successful businesses have run into difficulty because they don't have the cash available when they have bills to service or salaries to pay. Managing financial risks - for example, by setting up emergency lines of credit - will help you cope if money doesn't come in when it's expected to.

4. Diversify your risk exposure

So you might have a great team, plenty of energy and strong financial backing - but remember: never risk your entire investment on a single 'big bang' idea.

You need to create a portfolio offering of products or services, so that you have several sources of revenue to support business growth. This way, if any one line unexpectedly underperforms, the loss of income won't sink the entire enterprise.

Consider tech giant Apple - they don't base their entire business model on iPhones. They offer a range of products such as iPods, iPads, MacBooks and more, aimed at different audiences and set at different price points.

5. Stay flexible

Having a plan doesn’t mean you'll always stick to your own rules. At times, you'll need to improvise based on market demand and other factors.

Let’s say you've launched a new game, and the initial response is beyond expectations. Instead of sticking to your planned marketing budget, you may decide it’s better to increase spending to capitalise on the interest.

Allow your successful projects more funding, so that they can reach a bigger audience - and be ready to cut projects that aren't performing as hoped.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Jamshed Chaudhary, professional blogger, industry watcher and technical writer

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