As a promotional products distributor, you will benefit from a detailed business plan. Creating a road map for your business gives you measurements to chart your progress and provides an organizational structure for all aspects of your business. To be effective, your plan must be localized to your territory, comprehensive to provide detail across the business and savvy enough to include accurate, user-friendly financial projections.
Chart your progress by looking back over five years of historical market data. If you are in start-up mode, use industry data as opposed to data specific to your business. Include data on total revenue, average annual sales, number of competitors and target markets. This information is the starting point for your plan.
You also will need to have or create your mission statement, vision, organizational structure, customer profiles, marketing plan and financial projections.
Create a Vision
What will your business look like one year from now? The answer to this question is your vision for the business. It's simple to write the vision statement in bullet-point format with expected annual sales, number of customers, number of employees, target markets and any additional characteristics you want to see in your business.
Using your market data, review your percentage of market share and the number of new customers you plan to acquire in the next year. Determine the average revenue per customer and estimate your revenue and expenses for the coming year. With an accurate market analysis, you will realistically determine the goals and objectives for the next 12 months.
Personalize your plan by including information on your competitive advantages, methods of advertising, product pricing formulas and services to be offered. Potential related services include graphic design, sign making, even consultative marketing services. Thi information gives you the tools to make effective decisions in how to best reach your most profitable prospects.
Your business plan is best used as a measurement tool. Consistently track the progress of your business in key areas such as total revenue, staff expenses, cost of goods sold, number of customers and revenue per customer to ensure accurate posting of expenses to customers and potential areas of growth.
In the end, your business plan is as effective as you make it. A comprehensive plan allows you to monitor activity in all areas of your business and more importantly, make decisions with accurate data. A business plan also serves as a way to chart progress within a specified time period---monthly or quarterly, and make needed adjustments to ensure success.
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