Lilit Davtyan is the CEO of Phonexa, an all-in-one marketing solution for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting and more.
When making plans to start a business, it’s easy to become overly excited at the prospect of bringing your product or service to market. Unfortunately, that excitement often leads to oversights when crafting a business plan.
Business leaders often start by pinpointing strategies and processes to implement before prioritizing the actionable steps that will allow them to execute their business plan. But before moving ahead, business leaders have to ask themselves if it makes sense to implement these processes all at once or during different stages.
Business leaders are tasked with many decisions like these—myself included as the CEO of a performance marketing software company that provides marketing automation solutions. From my experience, there are approaches leaders can and should take to develop a successful plan for scaling their business.
Develop an effective research and development strategy.
Creating a successful business plan starts with implementing an effective research and development strategy. An effective R&D strategy will help business leaders put a plan in place for the next year, two years or five years, depending on the timeline that makes the most sense for the business.
Businesses can spend years developing products and still not be ready to go to market. Instead, I recommend businesses focus on one or two products that are ready to go to market and then, based on customer feedback, continue developing their other products. Prioritizing your development timeline is crucial to a successful R&D strategy that will ultimately drive your company forward.
Identify marketing channels to promote your products.
Identifying the right channels to promote your products depends on your service. One approach for going to market is to partner with a company that complements your business model well, has a strong presence in the industry and allows you to build credibility together. Another key factor to consider is that some products do better online through pay-per-click and SEO strategies, while there are other products that work better through referrals.
If your business thrives on referrals to bring in other customers, then you have to focus on your customer success by assessing the following:
• What kinds of products are you offering?
• What type of support do you provide?
• Why should consumers recommend your product within their network?
If your business relies on marketing, then you need to identify how much of a budget you have for online digital marketing strategies. This type of marketing strategy can be costly, so it’s imperative to allocate a budget toward multiple marketing channels. From there, you can test marketing initiatives to determine which marketing channel brings in the most business and invest more money into those strategies.
Another effective marketing strategy to consider is thought leadership. Putting out content is key. Talking about your specific product and expertise helps to educate your audience. As a result of educating your audience, consumers will be more likely to rely on your expertise and, in turn, want to conduct business with you.
Leverage tech tools to advance your business plan.
Another effective strategy to consider is using technology to further your business. For example, a customer relationship management system can be used to properly manage and track your customers. Employing a CRM system can help you streamline customer interactions by reaching out to customers. Depending on the type of business, you can put technologies in place that help address your company’s needs and pain points.
Assess risks and opportunities moving forward.
When developing a business plan, potential risks and opportunities should be considered, including regulatory and economic risks. Timing is also an important factor to keep in mind. You might have a great idea for expansion, but the timing might not be right. The same applies to location, depending on your business. Are you putting forth your product or service in the right physical or online location to attract the right types of customers?
Another opportunity to assess is attracting and hiring the right talent. By investing in talented employees and developing their skills, companies can increase employee retention while mitigating the risk of high turnover. This step is particularly important during the current global talent shortage.
Assess risks and opportunities at all stages. The result will be a well-executed plan for scaling your business.