Who Needs to Plan?
You do. Whether you are an established small business owner or a start-up, making time to think where you want your business to be in revenue, growth, product/service expansion, etc., is crucial. Technology has and continues to change practically every facet of business. The traditional methods of “how we used to do it” are being disrupted.
Add to this the potential economic policy, tax law, and health care law changes and you can envision more disruption to the traditional methods.
How do I Plan?
Traditionally you look back on last year’s accomplishments and compare them to goals you established. Then you decide how much growth you can finance and achieve. So far, everything sounds normal.
How probable is it that your business will change this coming year? What if a “disrupter” surfaces in your industry? Will online commerce competitors take business away from you? How will you use social media? These are scary questions and not easily answered.
You know your business inside and out. You know your customers. But do you know why your customers buy from you? Have you asked them?
When your business started, certain customer values were defined, your product/service was of high quality, good value, or other buying triggers. Continuous monitoring of your customer trends is a great grass roots market analysis. This is the gathering of valuable intelligence to help identify trend shifts. On a broader scale, what trends are being seen in your industry and how does your business adapt?
New Consumerism is Replacing Conspicuous Consumption
In a recent Trendcast newsletter, the term “new consumerism” was coined to describe a change in consumer attitude replacing conspicuous consumption with conscious consumption. What does this mean?
Competitive pricing is still a factor but so is authenticity, doing business with a company whose culture is consistent with consumer values. The new consumers are environmentally concerned; they are tech savvy and demand a high level of service. Brick and mortar stores need to create events with an experience to lure consumers.
This example of a trend shift, and countless others, are the disrupters that surely will impact more small businesses. Making time to think of the direction for your business is a MUST. Building or refreshing a business plan is a method for improving business success.
Where Can I Go for Help?
Consider meeting with a SCORE mentor to use as a sounding board or for a brainstorming of ideas session. The wide range of Rockland SCORE mentor experience is a valuable (and free) resource for you to use. Also, check out the extensive on-demand business webinars at rockland.score.org, and take part in the local workshops announced on our website and in our newsletter. Call 845-426-1206 and leave us a message.