Business plans have changed in recent years. The skeleton remains the same, but with new marketing channels to connect with customers, global competition, and new technologies, the content of today’s business plans need to be contemporary. Here’s a look at what you need to include in your business plan to make sure you’re up to date and modern in your business strategy.
Today, nearly every major business has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. The NFL, Ubisoft, and Coca-Cola all send out tweets on a regular basis, and your business should too. Social media is a great way to connect with the public for free. It allows you to target messages to potential clients, address criticism in an effective manner, and get creative with your marketing. For instance, if you run an iPhone repair business, you can search Twitter for posts that contains words or phrases like “need iPhone fixed,” or “looking for iPhone repairs,” and reach out accordingly.
A social media strategy needs to be included in your business plan. Including a strategy doesn’t mean you simply write in your business plan that you have a Facebook account. You have to provide a clear and well thought-out plan for social networking that is in line with the rest of your marketing strategy. This shows investors and lenders that you can keep up with market trends, and that you can successfully align your message across a number of marketing platforms.
When you or a business plan writing company draft your business plan, it needs to include some information on how you’ll connect with mobile device users. With 56% of Americans owning a smartphone, and 34% owning a tablet, it’s crucial to take into consideration the manner in which many consumers are accessing information. Will you create a business app or a mobile friendly site? How much will it cost to develop? What return do you expect on your app or site? With mobile devices recently surpassing PCs in time spent on online retail sites, not accommodating smartphone and tablet users could be a death wish.
The internet has opened up the world even more and made it much easier for a web developer in the Czech Republic to work on projects for a company in Mobile, Alabama. In other words, competition is fierce for almost all industries – it can come from all corners of the world.
Depending on which industry you enter, your business plan needs to reflect this. Though it might be tempting to stick with local statistics when presenting your marketing research, the truth is that national and international factors may come into play. If you include international competitors in your market analysis and ways to stay competitive among a sea of businesses from all over the world, your business plan and strategy will be more complete and will show investors that you’re not wearing blinders in your analysis. Competition comes from all over. How will you claim your stake?
Aside from the new ways to connect externally, today’s technology is changing how internal staff connect as well. Will you be supplying your staff with mobile devices? Will you be allowing them to access company data on their own personal devices? What security measures will be put into place? Will your sales staff require tablets? All these factors need to be taken into consideration in your business plan. Discuss the return on investment you expect, how you’ll pay for it, and what competitive edge these technologies will give you. Keeping your staff up to date tech-wise is valuable – so include it in your business plan!
Today’s business plans need to reflect the way business is done in 2013. Leaving out important information on your social media strategy, your app or mobile site plan, global competition, and new technologies can make your business plan look outdated and out of touch. So when you or a business plan writing company work on your plan, make sure it’s contemporary and up to 2013 standards.