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  • Writer's pictureSBDC @ JCC

4 Steps to Planning for Success

There is still time to plan for a successful 2018!

Define why you are in business and what are your long-term goals? Do you have an exit or succession plan for your business? Do you have revenue goals? Are you tracking your expenses? Are you aware of any changes to employment or tax laws? Do you have a system of checks and balances in your business? Have you conducted a SWOT or SMART analysis of your business? Below are 4 resources to help you continue planning for 2018 and beyond:

1. Write a business plan

The Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College offers business-planning services for our clients. We work you to construct a business plan that outlines your business, determines goals and objectives, and estimates revenue and expenses. We have worked with all types of businesses to develop a business plan that is relevant to your business goals. Your business plan is the document submitted to the bank to apply for a loan. Our plans cover these eight topics;

  1. Statement of Purpose

  2. Business Description

  3. Company History

  4. Products and Services

  5. Market Analysis

  6. Management and Operations

  7. Financial Analysis and Projections

  8. Time Table

2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions and Answer Objectively.

  • How many hours are you working every week?

  • How much work is left undone at the end of each day?

  • What tasks never seem to get done no matter how much you intend to get to them?

  • Is anything being shared, delegated or outsourced, or are you running the whole show?

  • How much time each week are you performing non-income generating tasks like designing posters, updating your web site, fixing your own equipment?

  • Are you working with your ideal clients?

  • What tasks drain you of energy?

  • Which customers drain you of energy?

  • What expenses take up the bulk of your cash flow?

  • How many projects are you running at once? Do you have several under way, but none complete?

  • Who are you leaning on for support, guidance and helpful resources?

  • Who helps you with brainstorming and trouble-shooting?

  • Who's there to hold a mirror to you, hold you accountable and be willing to tell you the truth when you need to hear it?

  • What's your greatest potential revenue source and what are you doing to ensure you focus the majority of your time and attention on that source?

  • What activities are proven time wasters, but you continue to do them anyway? (Copyright 2008 Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source)

3. Conduct a SWOT or SMART Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based goals. Choose one or both exercises. You may want to complete individually or as a team. These exercises will help you look at your business in objective ways. These can complement your business plan.

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4. Seek Professional Guidance

The Small Business Development Center is here to help. We are certified business advisors with offices at JCC Jamestown and JCC Dunkirk. We would like to help you plan for success in 2018 and beyond. In addition to our start-up business assistance, we work with existing business on a wide array of issues and topics. We truly are the go-to resource in the business community, and our services are free. Since you are reading this article on a digital platform, ask yourself if your business has a strong digital marketing presence. We would like to hear from you! Please call us at 716-338-1024.

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