TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Safety Technology Standards for Schools Outlined at ISC West
Partner Alliance for Safer Schools detailed four tiers of product agnostic life safety strategies to help K-12 districts protect against scourge of school shootings.
 2 of 5
What Obamacare Means For Your Small Business
Learn how to find low insurance prices, take advantage of tax credits and employ private health insurance within your business.
 3 of 5
Forecasts Mixed for Industry’s Economic Future
GDP growth remains slow, but there’s some level of optimism that things are (slowly) continuing to rebound. But how long will the recovery last? It all depends who you ask.
 4 of 5
#FF: Cameras That ID’d Boston Marathon Bombers Almost Turned Off
In light of recent updates in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, get another look at the technology that helped the FBI identify the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013.
 5 of 5
Wrigley Field Debacle a Lesson to Integrators
Open communication and working with client and other unions generally helps installers put together better projects.
Planning for Profit and Growth
A successful business plan should describe where you want your business to go, allowing you to spend time working on the business, not just in the business.

Article


Business Plan 101
January 24, 2013 By Ken Thoreson

In the past 15 years of consulting with IT partner organizations of all sizes, specialties and experience levels, I have found a common denominator among those that are growing and profitable: They have a vision for their business and a process for developing a business plan that allows them to execute effectively and measure progress.

Many partners create a budget for their company, but they fail to create functional business, operating, sales and marketing plans. Whether your firm focuses on UC, integration or managed services or if you have a two- or 20-plus employee sales team, it is vital to profitable growth that you develop a plan that describes where you want the business to go. The idea is to spend some time working on the business, not just in the business.

A successful plan should incorporate at least these four fundamental elements:

Define Business and Personal Goals

This, in essence, is your vision for you and your business. Frequently, goals focus solely on financial metrics, but you must also develop a set of personal or philosophical beliefs to help you increase overall organizational performance. These beliefs may be based on the type of culture you want to foster within your team, or employee participation and client satisfaction levels. These business metrics and personal vision become the basis for your tactical sales plans.

The key issue at this step is to be focused on outcomes. Examples include revenue growth, margin levels, partner recognition, customer satisfaction, pre-tax margin percentages, number of net new clients per quarter and account penetration goals.

Evaluate the Business Environment

Identify the key business drivers that increase revenue and reduce expenses. Consider market opportunity, the capabilities required to achieve your organization’s goals, current and future vendor product offerings and your current and desired market position.

The element of market opportunity is critical for setting your sales objectives. For each product area in which you focus, you need to make the following calculations:

  • Estimate the total number of potential buyers in the marketplace
  • Determine the total percentage of ideal buyers per year
  • Estimate the average order size per transaction
  • Determine the percentage of sales opportunities you will participate in per year
  • Determine the win/loss percentage of your sales opportunities

These figures will give you the data you need to build an accurate sales plan for each practice. Estimate your total costs to determine your ROI.

Prior to adding a new product offering, or even if you are already active in a specific practice, call potential customers in the market and ask a series of questions to validate your assumptions.

Involve Your Management & Sales Team

On at least an annual basis, ask your business management and sales teams questions including:

  • What went well? What did not go so well?
  • What are the key business assumptions for this year?
  • What are the four key metrics to be used to measure success in each department?
  • What are the business opportunities for success?

The goal of this step is to assess your chance of success, identify key success factors and, most importantly, build commitment among your management and sales team to achieve your business vision.

Validate Your Assumptions

As you develop your plan, you need to be realistic. Validate your assumptions by factoring in criteria including: the economic realities or vertical trends within your geographic area; vendor marketing efforts; the competitors’ position within your market; your ability to differentiate your offering and create unique value; and your internal company resources required for success including people, capital and so on.

In developing your business plan, it is critical that you define, measure and list all ingredients in the proper sequence of preparation and execution. Each quarter, you should re-assess your execution and assumptions to ensure your plan still has you on a course that will take you to profitability and growth.

About the author
Ken is a sales leadership guru; author of three highly successful books including the Sales Management Guru series, and popular blogger. He is also the founder and CEO of The Acumen Management Group, Ltd.
View all posts by Ken Thoreson
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
Integrators, This is Your Most Important Opportunity

With NSCA and SIA's Partner Alliance for Safer Schools, AV integrators have the ability to play a role in preventing tragedies like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Why Assistive Listening Systems Are Crucial to MNEC
When Green AV is Matter of Life or Death
Dealing with Dissenters, Trolls and A-Holes in Today’s Digital World
Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members
View more blog posts
White Paper:
Zooming In on Eye-Opening Surveillance Technologies

Demand for video surveillance is poised to intensify with cloud services, Ultra HD, edge devices, wider dynamic ranges and superior compression.

White Paper: 8 Ways To Calm a CIO’s AV Anxiety
Webcast: Inside PASS Electronic Equipment Guidelines to Safer Schools
White Paper: 5 Steps to Cheaper, Simpler Huddle Spaces
White Paper: State of the Industry Report
White Paper: An Integrator or Audiophile’s Guide to Networked Audio
White Paper: LED Light Fixtures: No Electrician Required
White Paper: The Ultimate Guide to As-a-Service
View more papers or webcasts



Recent comments

Item 9 thoughts.

When streaming ANY video, you need to consider the venue, as some systems/solutions…

Posted by Dennis on 2015 04 08 · commented on
'10 Important Considerations for HDBaseT Deployments'.

Thanks for your question, Dan. Here’s some information from Chuchla and CPIC officials that I think…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2015 04 03 · commented on
'Inside Chicago Police's Tech Strategy for Arming Officers with Real-Time Information'.

Intriguing application and deployment.  I didn’t see anything speak to how the data is actually…

Posted by Dan Gundry on 2015 04 03 · commented on
'Inside Chicago Police's Tech Strategy for Arming Officers with Real-Time Information'.

Thanks for your comment, Kaleo. InfoComm itself is not criticizing its members for not making the $2,000 commitment.…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2015 03 23 · commented on
'Kudos to InfoComm, Shame on Its Members'.