Not Following Your Business Plan

12 07 2010

Last week we had continued our discussion about implementing your business plan.   We talked about the challenges of discovering what actually will happen when you move from a business plan on paper to physically acting on the plan.  This week we are going to talk about what happens when you take your eye off the ball and you find you are not following your business plan

One of our booth configurationsIf you read last weeks post, as our rallys progressed, we did continue to touch base with our business plan to be sure we were on track.  By the end of the year, we felt we had become very proficient in working our business plan.  Each rally we attended we performed better at, our booth displays became eye-catching and we kept drawing more people to come and talk with us about what we had to offer, both with products, services and business opportunities.    By the end of our first fiscal year (and the end of the rally year) we were already planning on which rallies we were going to attend in the following year. 

During second year we performed even better than our first year, partly because now the same people who saw us the first year saw us again and realized that we were in the game for the long haul.  We continued to adjust our displays to appeal to the specific crowds and we continued to grow the business.  By the end of the second year though, attendance at the rallys were beginning to slow down, and sales were not as robust as they had been.  When referring to our business plan, our third and fourth backup plans had also fallen apart, but at the time we were not overly concerned since our primary model had been working so well.

At the end of the second year, we started talking to other vendors and were strongly encouraged to diversify our product line in order to capture more of the market.  This is when we began to loose sight of our focus and were not following our business plan.  As we explored other items to bring to rallies, we did not adjust our business plan accordingly.  Why should we?  We had been successful with the business plan for the last two years, we knew the plan, why should we continue to review and physically revise our business plan?  It seemed like a waste of time since we knew what we were doing.

What had we become?

Boy, was that a big mistake.  Once you are not following your business plan, you start losing focus altogether of where you want to grow your business.  Somehow between year 3 and year 4 we began focusing on just selling products and services and not watching our overall strategy of where we wanted to grow our business, or even how we planned on growing our business.  Focusing on selling is not a bad thing, please don’t get me wrong, but selling for selling’s sake is not what our original business plan called for.  Just selling turned us into a retail type of business, and nothing more.  We lost sight of what we wanted out of the business and how we planned to leverage our business down the road. 

We picked up products to sell that would be almost like an impulse purchase.  That is good, but again, it was not originally part of the business plan.  Those product types did nothing to help us grow our business and move it forward.  By the end of the third year, we discovered that with all the selling we had done, we had not performed much better than we did in year 2.  We had added so many different products without measuring and balancing against the original business plan that we ended up having a business that was almost not recognizable from its original state.  We had completely lost focus on who we were and what our business represented. 

Next week we will finish this thought and talk about what we are doing now with our Business Plan and how we plan to not lose sight of it again. 

If you are interested  in starting your own business, please feel free to visit our website at www.hawgwash.net.  We may have a business opportunity that would fit your lifestyle.

Until next week…

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12 07 2010
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