New Year’s resolutions have become a way of life for Americans. Each year we set some goals and hope we keep some — if not all of them. But like any form of goal setting, what we demand of ourselves needs to be achievable. Resolutions can be challenging — which is why so many of us break them! — but shouldn’t be impossible to see become reality.
The same is true for business owners. While every business plan needs to include achievable goals, some of these goals need to stretch you a bit outside of what is comfortable. Success in any business demands effort and changing or improving the results of your work may mean doing something a bit different.
When you start a business you expect to be successful, so you need a plan. A business plan is really a rational strategy that will help you meet your short and long term goals. It includes a few key areas including: business goals, mission statement, target market, competitive analysis, pricing strategy, promotional plan, marketing budget, action list, and a way to determine if you have met your goals. Key to this plan is your unique selling proposition. In other words, what sets you apart from your competition? What makes your product or service the best available to your target market?
Start formulating your unique selling proposition by answering these four questions:
- What is my product? (i.e. “skin care cream”)
- Who is my audience? (i.e. “women over 40”)
- What do I do well? (i.e. “demonstrating the skin improvements in past and current customers”)
- What is the problem my customer needs solved? (i.e. “aging skin”)
Answering these four questions will lead inevitably to your unique selling proposition. What is it that differentiates my business and my product from my competitors? What makes my product unique? (i.e. “my product is demonstrably effective for women over 40”)
If you’re not entirely sure that your product is unique, that your service isn’t distinguishable from that of your competition, you likely need to revisit your preliminary questions. Take a few minutes to answer these questions for yourself and see if you need to make any changes to your overall business plan or if you’re on the right track!
Within my coaching relationships, there are certain patterns of thinking that I find are most common. It’s definitely the case that leaders of businesses and organizations often know what it is they want to accomplish, but in the process of getting there, they fail to recognize road blocks—many of which they place in front of themselves. (more…)
Business consultants and coaches often overlap in their mission, to guide their client to meaningful decision-making toward the present and future of their business. Typically a consultant helps you work through business planning and strategy, marketing, project planning, website planning and the overall direction of a business. A coach will help you uncover obstacles from lack of focus, poor vision and self-sabotage and guide you toward clarity, purpose, and structure. (more…)