by Jerry Mooney

A lifelong business plan is something you should always be aiming for. Of course, when you first set up your business, there’s no doubt that you would have thought your business would go all the way. You’re either now a few weeks, or a few months in, and you might be having your first wobble already. You’ll soon come to realise that no business is naturally for life. If you were to get complacent with the whole process, your business would fail quicker than it started. A business is like a baby, it requires constant attention if it’s going to flourish into something special. But, with your time so stretched between what might feel like every single part of your business, it’s hard to know what to do to make your business a lifelong plan. Luckily for you, we’ve got a few tricks of the trade that should put you on the right path. Nothing is certain in business, and although most of us wish to become millionaires, retire at 45, and live the life of luxury because our business did go the full mile, certain circumstances will prevent that from happening. So, we’ve got some tips for you that should help you to create a perfect lifelong business plan, we hope they work for you!

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Structure

Allowing your business to have some sort of structure is the first thing that you need to focus on. There are so many different areas of your business as well that are going to need some structure, starting with yourself and your team. You’ll all have your own roles, but how structured are those roles? If you find that both you, and your team, are leaving the office every day without getting all of the tasks done that should be done, then the chances are high that you haven’t actually got structure within the different roles, or the company in general. Some companies take a relaxed approach to business, which is great. But this relaxed approach needs to be tackled head on with a drive to work as well. As long as the tasks are complete, everyone should be happy. So, this is down to you to change the ways in the office slightly. You need to focus on setting boundaries, ordered tasks, and trying to keep that element of fun in the office that you might have already had. You also need structure in your business in terms of the different processes, and how they all work together to create this strong business. You need to have a chain, starting with the first task, ending with the last. As long as they all fit together like glue, and that everyone knows what they’re going on about, then you’re going to go the full mile with your business venture!

Customer Experience

The experience that your customer has is really going to define your business. But, how much effort can you admit that you actually put into the experience your customer has? Unfortunately, for a lot of you, the effort levels will be low. But the experience that your customer has is so easy to influence, and it really isn’t hard to get them excited for your business, and to keep them loyal to your company. So, the first thing you can try is tailoring each experience, so that the customer feels unique to the company. Rule number one is to always make sure that they’re happy as soon as you answer the phone, send an email, or great them in the store. You need to get across that nothing is too much, and that you can’t do enough to help them. You don’t understand how much of a good impression this will give to your business. There’s no better comment for potential customers to read, than that the staff at your company couldn’t have done enough for the customer. It’ll draw people in, and it’s certainly a lot better than them having to hear that you didn’t even pay attention to the customer! The second experience you can give them starts with the very beginning, and that’s actually getting them to become customers. Marketing is obviously the way here, and using techniques such as drip email marketing is an excellent way to try and bring new customers on board, without seeming too pushy. It works by emailing an email list, which you must have had permission to do so, and then allowing the system to pick out the people who respond to a command. So, if you were to send out an email asking people to sign up for 50% off, and 10 out of the 15 people did it, the system would remove those 10 people so they’re not part of the system anymore, and sometimes will follow up email the remaining 5. It’s a quick and inexpensive way to reach people, and if you’re looking for new customers, this is one of the best!

Pricing Restructure

What’s the one thing that we’re all looking for in life? A bargain is something that we’re all on a hunt for, because life is to so expensive. So, if there’s one tactic you need to go for, it’s a pricing restructure. It allows you to figure out what products you can afford to drop the price of, and how much your customers will be able to save. Obviously, the more money you allow your customers to save, the more they’re going to keep coming back. The great thing about this is that it can either be temporary, or you can go for a full pricing restructure every few months. Whilst you might be dropping the price of some products, you can strategically raise the price of others to make a profit. Of course, you could always try something like a flash sale as well, which always seems to work wonders. A flash sale draws the customers in, allows your company to make a hell of a lot of money in one go, and then you can return back to normal prices! The sales don’t necessarily need to be cutting the prices by half, just cutting them by a tiny bit will increase the flow of customers to your store.

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Step By Step Goals

What’s usually involved in a plan? Goals. You have to give your business something to work towards if you’re going to get everything out of it. If you don’t have a vision, and a sense of direction, then there’s no telling where your business might actually end up. So, start with the smaller goals first, and work your way up. You want to try and make sure that you’re reaching financial goals first, as we believe that finances have the power to bring a company down so easily. Your main financial goal should be to get your debts down, and your profits up. You’re not going to be able to do this overnight, and it will take a lot of work. We would advise that you create mini goals that will lead towards a big one. So, it could be to clear one debt after the other, which will eventually lead to total debt elimination. Another goal to set could be to do with your competitors, as they’ll be the ones that are holding you back the most at times. Whether it be a goal to improve your customer service score over theirs, or a goal to increase your popularity. The point of this section is that you need to be making goals to make a lifelong business plan. Each month create a new one, and that way you will always be moving forward.

Quick Recovery

We bet that when making a lifelong business plan, you won’t be making any plans for a disaster to happen to your business. Sometimes, you just can’t predict what’s going to happen, so we understand why you wouldn’t know what you needed to plan for. But, what you do need to do, is focus on a quick recovery when it does happen. The quicker your business is up and running, the quicker things will return to normal. As soon as you notice a slight change in the way your business is performing, something should be done about it. This is the best way that you can make a quick recovery, because you’re only recovering from something small. If you were to wait for something big to happen, the chances of making a quick recovery, or a recovery at all are going to drop.

Expand Nationally & Internationally

This should be at the end of your initial business plan. You shouldn’t want to stay in your little section of the world, you should have dreams of making it all yours. Yes, it might take years and years for you to actually get to this point, but it should always be your goal. First nationally, and then you can work to going international. It’s one of the ways that a companies profits really begin to take off. There’s only so much you can do when the wider world doesn’t know about you!

So, what does your lifelong business plan hold for you? And is there anything you can take away from this!?