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How Strategic Is Your Business Plan?

By: Adele Sommers

Management If you currently have a business plan, how much of it taps your most creative, strategic thinking? Many plans are static, formal documents designed to impress potential financial backers, but do not necessarily serve as dynamic, living visions.

And, if you already have sufficient business funding, should you skip strategic business planning altogether?

For any situation, this article describes seven essential exercises to contemplate. You can incorporate the answers into a traditional business plan, or create a flexible slide presentation that powerfully communicates your vision to others.

1. What Are Your "Business Success Criteria"?

Do you have a crystal clear idea of the types of business undertakings that align with your gifts, talents, passions, and strengths? Have you thought about what your business can be the very best in the world at doing?

If the answers are "yes," you are in an excellent position to choose the ventures that can give you the greatest satisfaction and results.

If you're not yet totally clear, developing a set of "business success criteria" can enable you to select worthwhile endeavors with much deeper insight, and thus set the conditions for successfully pursuing them.

Why is this so important? Many people wander into businesses, projects, and professions opportunistically, meaning that they grab something that comes along because it's available and convenient. At times, this may be necessary for financial reasons. But unless we understand our underlying success criteria, we might not recognize the options that truly fuel and inspire us -- those that are best suited to our passions and strengths.

Some of your criteria could be practical considerations, and others more lofty. But all of your criteria will be essential to achieving balance, fulfillment, prosperity, and higher contribution in your life.

2. Who Are Your Target Audiences?

Do you know which audiences are best suited to, or already seeking, what you plan to offer?

Identifying your market niche involves brainstorming a set of potential target markets, and then combining and narrowing down the lists by comparing them against various criteria.

After selecting a niche that clearly portrays your perfect client or customer, you'll want to research it further to gain a more comprehensive understanding of it.

The more you learn about the needs, wants, frustrations, pain, and challenges of your audience, the more precise your marketing and product development efforts can be.

3. Who Are Your Competitors, Comparables, and Potential Collaborators?

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of the award-winning "Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance" program. She helps people "discover and recover" the profits their businesses may be losing every day through overlooked performance potential. To sign up for more free tips, visit her site at http://LearnShareProsper.com
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