Branding – The Fourth Step of Small Business Planning

As the owner of a small business planning firm let me tell you about a friend of mine, Jeff who lives on a teeter-totter. He does not literally live on a teeter-totter, but his business makes him feel like he does. Jeff is an engineer who works by himself in a “fruit-stand” type business.

Jeff’s business has two distinct phases. First, when Jeff is working on an engagement he is under the gSmall Business Planning un to provide the product to his customer so much that he is totally consumed with the project and focuses solely on it. While he is working on a project, life is good for Jeff.

But as the project is coming to close Jeff starts to panic, “where will my next project come from”, goes into “marketing mode”, and starts beating the bushes for work. While he is marketing mode, he is not earning anything, but he is still spending money. So goes Jeff’s life; being whipsawed and slammed as he jumps from one side of the teeter-totter to the other with a painful thud each time to remind him that he is on a teeter-totter.

Unfortunately, Jeff does not see any light at the end of the tunnel from his “exhausting fruit-stand” business. Alternatively, he could operate his business totally differently by employing a systematic approach to his business. In other words, he could transform his business into an “economic factory”. What is the difference?

Having worked with over 1,200 businesses in the past 15 years I have found that there are basically two ways in which a business can operate; a fruit-stand model and a factory model. A business that is basically the business owner is a fruit-stand type of business. Please note that with a fruit-stand there may be other people in the business, but they are really just an extension of the business owner and are there to support the business owner. Whereas a business that has the following attributes is an “Economic Factory” for the business owner:

  • Has been fully systematized
  • Is scalable and not difficult to grow to the next level
  • Is not overly dependent on the business owner

Branding – The Fourth Step of Small Business Planning

How do you move your business from a frustrating fruit-stand to an economic factory? There are 4 steps:

  1. Fully understand the short-term and long-term goals of your customer (Small Business Planning Steps for Growing Your Business)
  2. Analyze your current “products”, create additional products and take all your products to the next level by fully developing solutions that will enable your customer to achieve their goals – their desired outcome from you (Small Business Planning Steps for Growing Your Business)
  3. Fully systematize your business by developing the Processes and Procedures within your business in order to consistently deliver your current and future products that will enable your customers to achieve their goals from buying your product (Avoid Tyranny of the Urgent with Small Business Planning provides the specifics of this step)
  4. Position you and your “Brand” as the best solution for your customer achieving their goals

Small Business Planning Once you are doing steps 1, 2 and 3 on a consistent basis you are ready to safely take your business to the next level; positioning you and your “Brand” as the best solution for your customer achieving their goals. Establishing and promoting your brand is a key to your entire Marketing and Sales area because your brand sets an expectation of what will be your customer’s experience with your product.

This “experience” will be based upon how consistently your product(s) enable your customers to achieve their goals from buying your product. Branding and brand recognition is the leveraging and communication of this “experience” to the market place in order to reach your potential customers.

Therefore, utilize these four small business planning steps to start you down the path of having the small business of which you have desired and thereby turn your business into an “economic factory”.

photos by: Joe Shlabotnik & KB35

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