Every business owner must periodically examine their business and determine if it’s meeting the potential it can. A good time to do that is yearly, but if you’ve not done it in a while, that’s okay. Clear a day and take a look at how you’re doing, what you want to do better on, and developing a plan of action to move your business forward.
Developing a business improvement plan is much like when you first sat down to create a business plan. The only difference is now you are operating within reality instead of conjecture.
In business school, you’d learn that to have a profitable business you’ll need to learn to plan, do, check and act. This essentially means to create a plan, follow the plan, check up on the plan, and then keep implementing the plan or tweak it as necessary.
This seems like a long, drawn-out process but the truth is, it’s something every business owner needs to do. To develop a business improvement plan you’ll need to do the following:
* Know your business needs
* Understand the process involved
* Have a way to analyze results
* Be able to make changes when needed
* Be willing to drop the old and implement the new
* Have a way to test the new
* And…. Repeat….
In any successful business, this process of developing a business improvement plan is ongoing. It will require study of your competition, your audience, and the current trends, as well as understanding where technology is going for your audience within your niche. Without understanding these things and the ability to look honestly at the past, and hopefully toward the future, it will be hard to develop a business improvement plan.
You can create a business analysis questionnaire to help you accomplish these goals. Depending upon your niche, you may or may not need to include some of these suggestions. Use your own best judgment. You may include information about:
* Opportunity: Is the opportunity relevant to your audience?
* Industry trends: Where is your industry headed? Read appropriate literature so that you can familiarize yourself with the facts.
* Knowledge: Do you have, or do you know someone who has the knowledge needed to turn this opportunity or idea into a profitable addition or substitution for your business?
* Resources: Do you have the resources in both time and money to complete this project and turn it into a money-making opportunity?
* Features: Can you list all the features of the opportunity?
* Benefits: How does the opportunity benefit your audience?
* Profitability: Is it likely you can profit with the idea or opportunity? If so, how?
For instance, let’s say you have a business selling information products and you want to improve them. Where do you start?
First, you determine if the improvements will be justified with the potential projected monetary outcome. Next you ensure that your improvements match your industry and fit in with trends that appeal to your audience. You also ensure that you actually have the knowledge or someone else has it, so that you’re not just guessing.
If you have the resources and understand how this change affects your audience, and can see that you’ll earn more money, then you want to go ahead with the product improvement.
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