There are many ways that a business can fail, including, but not limited to:
– Little or no Business Plan
– Product Changes
– Poor Content on Social Media
– Not enough Social Media Activity
– Poor Customer Service
– Product Changes
Let me start with “Product Changes” – now, generally these can be seen as a real benefit to most businesses, product development after all is extremely important in this highly competitive world we live in. For instance advances in information technology can only really be a good thing, surely? But what about all those products which change for the worse (for the consumer). We see it everywhere: chocolate bars look so much smaller than when we were kid! While some of that can be blamed on you yourself being smaller and therefore the chocolate bar seeming bigger, I am convinced that in reality they are indeed much smaller. The other one which is really winding me up at the moment is toilet paper, soft strong and very long?! Not so long these days?
Companies are making products smaller, butter, soap, chocolate to name but a few. Sure, it makes economic sense to the companies, as they are saving a fortune by shaving small amounts off each item during production (I get that!); but I for one have changed my allegiances and now purchase alternative products to those brands that I have purchased for so long. In the end the “shaving off” can’t make good business sense can it, if it loses so many originally loyal customers? Maybe there’s niche here? Produce, for instance, a tin of chocolates the size they used to be, while still charging a profitable price for them – you’ve got to be onto a winner?! (You heard it here first!!)
OK, so let us move onto the topic that really interests me – a good Business Plan, or (dare I say it?) some sort of Business Plan. It is so important to know where you are, where you are going and where you want to go with your business.
http://www.gov.uk (2020) suggest a business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. A business plan helps you to: clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out your goals, measure your progress. You’ll need a business plan if you want to secure investment or a loan from a bank. It can also help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support you.
So if you are just starting out with your business, I would like to think you have an objective, even if it’s just in your head. Good! So get that objective down on paper (or screen) and hey presto! you have the beginnings of a Business Plan. It’s important to think about the things that are most important to you – for me its about assisting businesses in an ethical, professional and friendly manner; its about collaboration, improving opportunities and giving people choice. For instance, if you are a small business you don’t HAVE to use an Accountant to complete your books, it’s not a legal requirement, a bookkeeper is perfectly acceptable (as long as they have the correct knowledge) and part of my mission is to ensure that small businesses are aware of this fact.
When you really get going with your Business Plan it enables you to investigate properly what it is you are offering and why. What is your service or product? Who is it for? What is it about you that enhances your product or service?
Finally, a Business Plan will enable you to lay out your future plans, where you want the business to be in 5 years time. It will help you have a vision and reason and the impetus to work hard at what you do; it will help you make it work.
The moral of this blog?
If you are going to change your product in any way, explain the change to your existing customers, don’t appear to be “ripping them off”. Customers will easily lose their loyalty, if they ever had any!
Have a plan, a reason, a goal, it helps your business and it helps you mentally to have that aspiration. Others will see that and appreciate it too!