Are You the Clueless or Savvy Business Owner?

Third Step – Your WHAT

Business Owner - What

This is the third step in your planning process for 2015.

If you missed the previous two steps, you can find them below.

Do You Communicate your WHY Clearly?

Do You Really Know Your Audience Profile or Do You Just Think You Do?

WHAT do you want to accomplish in 2015 and beyond?

But before you answer, you need to do some soul searching and decide what type of business owner you are and what type do you want to be.

You can be the savvy and more successful business owner.  Or you can be the clueless business owner.

What’s the difference?

Clueless Business Owner

The most typical response from a clueless business owner when asked WHAT they want to accomplish in the next year is along the lines of:

I want to generate more (leads, sales)!  What else would I want to accomplish?

That type of response tells me this business owner isn’t really very serious.  Chances are, they aren’t going to be very successful either.

Most likely they couldn’t tell you why they were able to achieve what they did and they’re clueless about how to produce different or the same results next year.

All too often this type of business owner ignores the facts, the hard data.  Facts don’t lie, but you have to look at them to hear the story they are willing to tell.

Savvy Business Owner

Ask a savvy business owner the same question and they know exactly what they want to achieve.

Not only do they know their WHAT, they also know what it is going to take to achieve their goal.

As an example:

If I ask a clueless business owner how their year was, the typical response I might hear is:

It was okay, a little better than last year”

But if I ask the savvy business owner , they’ll say:

Sales are 30% over last year and most of those sales were represented by two product lines that tapped into the wants and needs of working women.  About 50% of the new sales were through our special events that we introduced in 2014.”

What is the difference?

It’s pretty clear to me that the savvy business owner has a plan and, most importantly, she’s been tracking her results.  She’s dug into the numbers to find the real story of what she was able to accomplish last year.  She knows that:

  • Sales increased
  • Which products represents the increase in sales
  • Among which audience segment
  • And the marketing technique that was successful in generating new leads and the subsequent sales

Armed with her results, the savvy business owner is far better prepared to plan out her 2015 and how she can continue to increase sales.

Want increases in sales? Be very, very specific.

Planning your WHAT

If you want to increase sales, determine by how much.  Then backtrack that figure to determine what is going to take and when for you to achieve that level of sales.  What will need to change?

Dig into your data to find your answers.

  • Analyze your sales – year to date, month to month or week to week
  • Analyze which marketing efforts worked and which didn’t in generating leads, customers, sales
  • Analyze the customers, your WHO, and how they are getting to you

Then plot what needs to change to accomplish your WHAT by looking at your entire business.

  • Staffing
  • New marketing techniques
  • Advertising and promotions
  • Website
  • Product mix, product bundles
  • Joint ventures with aligned business owners
  • Hours of Operation, etc.

Of course, you may want other WHATs for your business such as increased awareness or higher profit margins.  Whatever your WHAT is, you can’t go wrong if you use the data to guide your efforts.

Slave or Master of Your Business

Most business owners are juggling their business as well as their families, their own personal wants and relationships with others.   There’s a lot to juggle.

But your business shouldn’t short-circuit your life.

This is what happens to the clueless business owner.  They have a long To Do list and never seem to get any of it done.  They’re always feeling pressured, frustrated and never have enough time to get it all done.

Clueless business owners are typically slaves to their businesses.

The savvy business owner has it all under control.  Their businesses support their goals as well as the other important areas of their life (e.g. family, spouse, leisure, etc.).

They are the masters of their businesses and know exactly what needs to happen and when.  The result is it all gets done when it needs to.

You can’t just wish it so…you have to build your dreams into your business.

And you have to plan your WHAT to make certain it happens.

After all, it is YOUR business.  You need to make it work for you.

We’ll dive into this more next week.  In the meantime, you should share your business goals for 2015 in the comments section below.  What do you want to achieve?  Remember be specific.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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