Plan Now to Execute in 2024

It is now July 2023. Have you started to think about what you want to accomplish in 2024? It is time to set your goals and devise a plan you can and must execute to achieve those goals. So many business leaders are good at setting goals, and some even can devise execution plans. However, failure can be guaranteed If they are nicely packaged in a folder, put in a safe place, and not executed.

As all of you know, hundreds of articles on the internet talk about how to create a business plan. This article is not one of them. Instead, the focus of this article is information from experience on mistakes that we all often make that either make a plan un-executable or, in some way, cause a business to fail.

The common elements often discussed as essential elements of a business plan are executive summary, business description, market analysis, organization management, sales strategies, funding requirements, and financial projections.

Let us look at each one of these.

Executive Summary. This summary should be easy to understand. It should be written so that an investor can read it and immediately have a good feel for the product or service you are planning to provide. An excellent way to start the writing process is by starting with the elevator speech of your business. What business problem are you trying to solve, and how is your approach feasible? These are two questions that must be at least hinted at.
Business Description. The mistakes I have seen usually involve vagueness regarding the product or service the business is trying to develop and market. There is often no hint of any problem the product or service attempts to fix. Usually, it is because no business case is actually formulated anywhere. The idea that “if we build it, they will buy it” is only real if you have an established brand like Apple and can create a demand for the product.
Market Analysis. Make sure that there has been market research done. Technology does not sell. The product or service must have features that meet needs and provide more value to the customer than the purchase price. We have all seen the best technologies (and good products) not survive very long because the market analysis was not done and features not added that the market required. Examples of these include Betamax, IBM micro-channel computers, and IBM OS/2. A market analysis is also essential to decide what features should be in a product or service. I know of one customer who did private demos of his product. Whenever a customer asked for a feature, he immediately asked his software development team to add the feature. Some of the features took months to implement. There was never any market analysis to see if more than one customer wanted any of the features. The result was that the product development cost seven times more than estimated, and it was more than three years late. The product and the company failed as I had predicted.
Organization Management. Often, a company doesn’t consider how it will meet its organizational needs. I had one CEO respond to me with the words, “Well, if we are successful in selling the product, then we just have a “high-class problem.” The company had no support staff to handle more than a couple of support requests a day, no plan for producing anything in quantity, no production control, no vendor agreements in place, etc.
Sales Strategies. Many small companies have been so busy focussing on product development that they have no investment in creating a sales strategy. They may have a good product, but one cannot succeed in today’s marketplace without a planned sales strategy. Sales strategies should figure out innovative ways to succeed in a competitive market.
Funding Requirements. Many small businesses do not know what it takes to develop and sell a product to the point where it is profitable. I have had multiple customers pull the plug on development because it cost more than they expected —even though they were told how much it cost to develop a software application. Some folks just think about funding the development effort but do not fund the support and the marketing that must take place. One must do due diligence to determine all the costs as much as possible before venturing to start a business. The same applies to you as you plan for 2024.
Financial Projections. Again, this is something that many small business owners do not worry about. We had one customer two years ago who did not have enough money to pay us for more than one month. When we quizzed him about it, he answered, “I figure that after you start helping us, we will have money rolling in about two to three weeks, and then we can pay you.” We did not take that project, Do you have a clear picture of how you will pay the bills in 2024? Do you understand the pitfalls?

Two guiding principles as you create a realistically executable plan for 2024 are
(a) Perfection is the enemy of “Done,” and
(b) Understand your limitations and plan to get the help you need to execute your plans and meet your goals for 2024.

Immanuel Consulting Services has experts in every area of business management, including product development, manufacturing, system deployment, and marketing. We are here to help.
Contact Immanuel Consulting Services, LLC by emailing or calling 919-283-9476.