Do you hate business planning more than hearing nails on a blackboard? Perfect. Join the rest of us business owners as we search for a better way…

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we looked at the 10/10/10 business plan. Think about one aspect of your business for 10 minutes. Do this for three days. Voila! Business plan!

So far, we’ve written two sentences that describe our business’s aspirations, and we’ve thought about the OUTSIDE forces that could significantly affect us.

Now onto the last bit: let’s think about our capabilities, those things within our direct control, typically things that are INSIDE the company. This worksheet is a good guide.

WHAT DO WE DO WELL?

What are our strengths? Those things that our customers rely on, things that our competitors aren’t as good at. They could be people, skills, knowledge, procedures, equipment, location, technology – you know what they are. They make us proud of our business, they’re the things we like to talk (brag!) about. And they keep our customers coming back for more.

Ready to do a little more writing?

What should we do to preserve our strengths and capitalize on them? How can we make them even better, even stronger, even more effective? How can we use them to increase our reach, our revenue, our gross margin, our customer satisfaction?

Describe these things at a high level. Perhaps you teach business owners using the Internet – just a random example 🙂  What about using a cool new technology to help ANY business owner, ANYWHERE, in a LIVE public setting? Let’s write it down:

Use the CZ technology to offer free, online advice to business owners around the world.

By achieving this, how much will your business measurably improve? Circle one: Lots  Little

How much money / effort will it take to achieve this? Circle one: Lots  Little

How much time will it take to achieve this? Circle one: Weeks  Months

How certain are you that this can be achieved? Circle one: Very  Unsure

Is this consistent with your corporate aspiration? Circle one: Yes  No

Who from your team would be responsible for this?

Use this worksheet and write down a few potential objectives. One is good. Three is better. Eleven is probably too many.

WHAT DO WE DO POORLY?

I hate to admit this, but we’re not perfect. D’oh! In fact, we could be downright awful at some things. Those things could be hurting our business significantly. Hurting the quality of our products and services. Hurting our reputation. And hurting revenue, gross margin, and customer satisfaction.

The good news is that we get a fresh start. We’ve got a whole new year to solve these problems. Let’s use it to become as good as we possibly can!

Use this worksheet and write down how we’re going to improve on things we don’t do well.

For me, marketing is my weakness. I love to teach, I love to write, and I love to help business owners. But I don’t do nearly enough effective marketing. So I need to…

Find more effective marketing channels and partners.

If we do NOT achieve this, how much could our business be HURT? Circle one: Lots  Little

How much money / effort will it take to achieve this? Circle one: Lots  Little

How much time will it take to achieve this? Circle one: Weeks  Months

How certain are you that this can be achieved? Circle one: Very  Unsure

Is this consistent with your corporate aspiration? Circle one: Yes  No

Who from your team would be responsible for this?

Use this worksheet. Write down your improvement suggestions.

NOW PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK, AND RELAX FOR A DAY

You’ve made it this far, and you’ve done a great job. Well done!

And, as a reward for your hard work, I’ve got a special holiday gift for you in my next blog post. It’s going to make planning even easier for you…