How to build a 'business plan on a page'

At PLAN Australia, we have been talking to our members a lot about building sustainable businesses that will thrive into the future. And a key part of successful business development is having a business plan.

When it comes to business plans, less is often more. While conventional wisdom suggests that a business plan needs to be 30 pages or more, such detailed plans can be both time-consuming to write and cumbersome to keep up to date – not what any busy broker needs!

Paring back a business plan to a single page can be a powerful exercise, as it forces you to think critically about your business goals and what you are trying to achieve, providing a roadmap for your business to reach its goals and ambitions in the face of an evolving marketplace.

Your one-page blueprint can be shared with employees, partners and other stakeholders such as your BDM, holding you accountable to your goals and objectives and increasing your chances of achieving them. In fact, businesses with a documented plan are 168% more profitable than those without one, with 30% higher growth.

At PLAN Australia’s recent professional development days, we asked brokers to consider some key questions before creating their one-page plan.

Who is your target market?
The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow. Yet many businesses struggle to understand their target market and set their sights too broadly.

When determining your target market or markets, look at your current customer-base and why they work with you. You may know their broad demographics or psychographics – for example, first homeowners, investors or commercial clients. This is a great start to tailoring your service and messages to the right audience.

Who is your ideal client?
The next step is whittling your target market down further to identify your ‘ideal client’. Your ideal client is that dream client you love working with, who trusts and refers you and keeps coming back.

Once you are clear on who they are and what they want, you can adapt the customer journey to serve this well-defined group.

For example, let’s call your ideal clients Steven and Maggie, both 45. Steven and Maggie have built up a significant amount of equity in their Sydney home and are now looking to purchase an investment property on the Central Coast, which they will rent out.

The couple both earn above-average salaries, like to read personal finance titles online and are also interested in property and finance seminars. Their goal is to pay off their investment property before they retire to help them achieve financial independence.

Now you know who your ideal client is, you will have much a clearer idea of what to do to reach them.

What are your key goals for the year ahead?
Business goals establish where you intend to go and how you plan to get there. The more carefully you define your goals for the year, the more likely you are to achieve them.

Look at what you did particularly well that drove success in the past 12 months and what you want to do more of this year.

These goals will be different for every business. However, when we talk to successful businesses we often see some common themes. These include saying no when it is right to do so, taking time every month to assess business performance, diversifying offerings, growing staff numbers and staying disciplined on what the business does well.

What roadblocks are getting in the way of your success?
While all business owners want to see their business grow, there are a host of internal and external challenges that the process of growth creates within any organisation.

Look at the three things that inhibited your success in the past 12 months – it could be too much time spent on administration, processes that are not efficient, poor referral sources or not enough of the right clients, for instance.

Calling out your roadblocks helps you to take the appropriate steps to ensure they do not impact your business or the end client outcome.

What are your personal goals for this year?
In a rapidly-changing industry marked by intense competition, technological advancements and regulatory change, professional development has never been more important for brokers.

When setting your personal goals, consider any gaps in your training, aggregator events you would like to attend, new contacts you would like to make through networking and changes you could make to become more efficient. Having these key performance indicators (KPIs) in place provides a set of guideposts to illuminate your path, giving you a quantifiable measure of your performance.

We at PLAN Australia believe that having a roadmap to success is a key driver of success for brokers in today’s changing marketplace. A business plan on a page allows you to define the scope you would like to operate in, outlining to everyone in your organisation what the key next steps are to achieve your business goals.

 

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