Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Websites & Business Plans - What's in Common?

Every entrepreneur is familiar with business plans.  Even those who, at this very moment, are saying “I don’t have time to write out a business plan”, have a business plan.  It may exist only in their head, it may be abstract, but it’s there and it’s a plan.

Paring it down to the very basics, a business plan outlines:

  • What is your service or product?
  • How will your business be funded?
  • Who will buy your service or product?

Whether it’s every three months, six months or every year, business plans should be updated to reflect changes in the business. 

We always have an eye on our product.  Production, distribution and the competition change frequently and it’s wise to keep those changes current in the business plan.

Investment, sales and revenue are constantly (daily? hourly? by the minute!?) under the microscope and, in a relevant business plan, are always open for review.

Just about the only thing that doesn’t get revised in a business plan is the “Who”.  For some reason, once we complete a “market study” and “demographic profile”, we don’t change our business plan as it relates to our customers.  It’s as if they and their needs never change.

In reality your customers, their needs and their position in the buying cycle are always changing and so should your customers’ profile in your business plan. 

Indeed, instead of focusing on issues surrounding product and funding, if you wrap your business plan around your customer, the product and funding issues will start looking after themselves.

It’s the same with your website.  If you design your website around your target customers, giving them what they seek when they visit, the problem of converting them into paying customers will not be as daunting.

The web gives you unprecedented tools to know how potential customers look for what they need, where they are in their buying cycle and what it will take to get them to buy from you.  

By Stephen Da Cambra

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