The Importance of Planning

I attended a mentoring day for new business owners earlier this week and the importance of having solid plans when starting a new venture was brought into stark relief.

There were a wide range of businesses represented at the event, ranging from a private beauty college to a retailer of South American poison dart tree frogs.   Some of these businesses had been trading for a few months, others were still in the planning stage but it was fairly obvious that those with a clear idea of their market and their business potential had a greater chance of long-term success.  It was also evident that some of the proposed businesses would struggle because their proprietor had no clear idea of the market in which they intended to operate or in one case, the actual work the business was being set up to do.

The person running the tree frog business was turning a hobby into a business.  They knew the potential size of their market and they had identified the lack of a UK supplier of both frogs and the equipment needed to look after them.  they were also aware of the importance of traceability in their market and had decided that an important selling point was their ability to show that the frogs they were supplying had not been illegally trafficked into the UK.  This was a business where a significant level of thought and planning had gone into its concept.

Then there was a proprietor looking to open a craft training business.  Their idea was that they would identify crafts that people would want to learn, learn how to do that craft, and then pass that knowledge on to students.  Admittedly this person was still trying to define their business but it was clear that they had no real idea who their customers would be, what their business would provide and whether they were looking to a customer base of consumers or whether they were to provide training to those wanting to start selling their wares at craft fairs.

Finally, there was the wedding photographer who had invested in two photo booths.  They had a clear idea of what their business wanted to achieve in the UK but had decided to look into expanding their business into Greece.  The idea of a European expansion for their business had not come from a detailed examination of the Greek market for photo booths but because they had friends in Greece.  This appeared to be a business trying to run before they had learned to walk.

In each of these cases, a structured marketing plan would have helped define the business potential and to identify both competitive advantages and market segments to target.  In the case of the tree frog business, a structured marketing plan could help identify appropriate promotional channels.  In the case of the craft business it could help define the business and the distinct services being offered to either customers or craft fair attendees.  In the case of the photo booth business, a marketing plan can help assess whether an expansion into the Greek market will increase turnover or be a financial drain on the existing business activities.

Philmus Consulting Ltd can help you develop your business idea into a profitable enterprise through the development of comprehensive market analysis and appropriate marketing mix strategies.