hen you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you have a head in your daily life and rarely take the time to think and formalize your business strategy.
According to several studies, only 30% of companies (solo, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs) have a real business strategy and only 20% have put it into operational action plans.
Yet, the Business Action Plan (CAP) is one of the basic tools for growing your business. So how do you develop your sales through a good business strategy and a solid track record?
STUDY ITS MARKET
Before you act, you have to know where you are and where you want to go. You have to start by laying everything down and asking yourself the right questions. Objective: to know who you are? What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to your direct and indirect competitors! You have to know your market and its players well to develop.
Here are some questions to ask you:
- What is my catchment area (districts, cities, regions, countries …)
- Who are my direct or indirect competitors? What is their offer and marketing mix?
- Who are my clients? Where do they come from and what is their profile? What are their needs and expectations?
- What are the trends in my market?
- What is my product – service offer? How does it differ from my competitors? Is it tailored to the needs of my clients and prospects?
These questions form the basis of your market research which is the first step to build your business strategy.
TO FIX OBJECTIVES
Before implementing actions, you must set SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time). These will be the thread of your action plan. These objectives are obviously not only financial and must also be of purely commercial nature (qualitative and quantitative).
For example, it could be:
- To gain 5% market share over one year,
- To conquer a new type of customers,
- To increase the filling or passage rate,
- To increase the average basket by selling more to your current customers,
- Or even improve loyalty to your current customers.
You must of course set yourself several goals, but be careful not to want to play on all the tables at the same time, under penalty of losing efficiency.
Also note that there are 4 major types of commercial actions:
- Prospecting actions to conquer new customers;
- Loyalty actions to keep your current customers;
- Recovery actions to reclaim your lost customers;
- Lastly, the recommendation actions on your prescribers and partners who send you customers.
DEFINING AN ACTION PLAN
To be effective, your business strategy must not be a succession of independent decisions but a set of coherent and complementary actions that serve your objectives.
Your action plan must also take into account the cost (you have to budget your actions and measure the ROI), the timeframe and the human resources needed to achieve these objectives.
Decisions can be made on several aspects such as:
- Your products or services: launching a new product or services or on the contrary removing products from your offer …
- The price: implementation of specific promotional actions to attract new customers … setting up a “Price – Products – Services” package;
- Advertising and communication: insertion of advertising inserts in the local press, setting up of a loyalty card, creation of a Facebook page to create a link with your customers …
- The way of distribution: selling your products on the Internet, opening a new point of sale
It is the relevance and coherence between these different levers that will ensure the effectiveness of your strategy. For example, a promotional action not relayed in advertising will thus have little chance of functioning and therefore of achieving its objectives.
Do not forget to take into account the conclusions of the analysis of your market study to define the actions to be implemented. So there is no point in questioning your product – service offer if your distribution or notoriety is fishing. In this case, it is better to invest in a good advertising campaign, a website or emailing.