A couple of times a week, I stop by Honovan's Cleaners to drop off laundry. Right around the corner, Honovan is the epitome of uber customer satisfaction. Open 12 hours a day, six days a week, she accommodates everything that I could possibly need.
I don't want to be bothered with tickets, so years ago, Honavan simply told me "no tickets". I don't want to wait in line. Simple solution for Honovan was to give me a laundry bag. I mentioned to her that I loved the fact that she opened, at 6:30 and then complained that the shoe repair store didn't open until 8. That day, Honovan became the drop off place for the shoe repair guy. Not satisfied with just laundry, shoes and, of course, alterations, a few years ago, she expanded to do the commercial laundry for many of the hotels in the Back Bay.
We know one another very well now, and if she were to have a business plan for next year it would be simply outlined as...
- make sure that the customer is totally happy
- work hard...and then work harder some more
In the world of small businesses-the cleaners, the electricians, my parents who ran neighborhood jewelry stores, and the local mortgage brokers, in most cases, there is no real business plan except to work long hours, focus on the customer and make connections in the community to obtain referrals. All pretty direct to plan for, but not so simple to execute.
Even in the cases of Cape Cod Potato Chips and Legal Seafoods, where ultra-tiny, one location "shops" became large, well-known and highly profitable businesses, when Steve and his wife, Lynn, began Cape Cod there was no business plan to create a global brand. Just hard work and a dedication to both the product and the customer experience.
It's that time of year
Here we are pushing and panting as we run up the Q4 slope using all of our intellect and energy to make sure that we bring home the bacon by the end of December.
Working hard? Of course! It's 12 hour days, wicked travel schedules and many hours on every weekend as we count down the selling days between now and the 31st. But, all in all, pretty manageable...until, of course, the boss says that we need to present the 2014 business plan by December 1st. Vaguely, we then remember that boring meeting back at the beginning of June during which every one of us acknowledged that we needed to finalize the business planning process this year by mid December and not let it slide...like all those other years...into January.
Always the question that I then hear is "Can you send me a copy of a business plan so I can have an idea of what to do?" The answer is unfortunately I can't since (1) business plans are confidential no matter how old they are, and (2) business plans are written by someone else and not by your management team, so unless you do it yourself within your own planning process, it will end up reading like a pieced-together, awkward business plan.
Which is why we wrote the book...
- for entrepreneurs
- for established business managers
- 75 pages plus
- updated twice a year
- 100,000+ downloads
Updated each year by me and my corporate friends like Den White, Managing Director at the law firm, Verrill Dana; Steve Wilchins, founder of the law firm of Wilchins, Consentino, & Friends; Mary Cole, an excellent B2B High Tech Marketing Consultant, and Tom Powell of Professional Management Partners, our ebook, Writing the Winning Business Plan, was written to provide you with a process of how to think about business planning, how to write the actual document, along with tons of helpful hints as you move through answering the boss's annual requirement of producing a plan.
A couple of (free, of course) offers...
1. Click HERE to download the book. Please let me know what you think. We're going to go through a rewrite over the Christmas holidays probably resulting in splitting this into two books. One for startups. One for mature companies.
2. Give us a call for confidential advice and a sounding board
Good Selling...and good planning !