Generally, people have good or great ideas. Whether it’s personally and/or professionally.
However, how many times has an idea been developed, but not been properly executed?
This happens more times than not.
To this end, there are two stats that struck me recently:
- According to Entrepreneur.com, 27% of small businesses don’t have a strategic marketing plan,
- And in a recent Detroit Free Press published report nearly 50% have don’t have technology capability–specifically, a website.
My question is why?
Regarding the lack of a plan, there are various reasons. I recently posed this question via LinkedIn. Comments ranged from:
- Lack of time,
- Too cumbersome,
- Not sure how to create one,
- And, don’t see the value in it.
You get the idea.
Furthermore, a September, 2013, Bloomberg report indicated nearly 50% of small businesses will fail with 18 months after launch.
Let’s examine this briefly.
The purpose of your plan is to help you mitigate risks and to assist you in achieving your business goals. Without it and simply put, you’re potentially on a “rudderless” ship.
While some may fall into “success” with their “big idea”, your chances for success are minimized if you don’t have a plan with clearly defined goals, strategies and tactics.
According to Richard King, Director, SBDC’s Southeastern Region, “There may be successful businesses without a plan but, in essence, it is vitally important to develop one and effectively execute it.”
He offered the following tips beyond just having a “big idea” when it comes to your plan. Specifically, businesses should have:
- Resources: not just financial sources but, and just as critically important, people or human resources. In other words, rely on people you can trust to make decisions.
- Planning/Execution: The ability to plan and execute. The best laid plans can go awry if not effectively executed. The lack of effective, integrated execution enhances the potential for success.
- Results tracking: Do you have the ability to effectively track your results, including financials? How do you currently measure overall effectiveness? This is essential as you measure your overall levels of success based on performance.
With it being mid-year, now’s a good time to reassess your plan and determine whether it needs to be developed (if you don’t have one) and/or fine tuned (if you do).
Now let’s shift gears to technology.
Here’s a simple observation and fact, it has changed the way businesses, irrespective of size, conducts transactions and how relationships are engaged, facilitated and managed over time.
Establishing relationships are critical to business sustainabilty and growth.
So imagine my surprise when it’s been reported nearly half of small businesses don’t have a website.
I discussed this issue with David L. Brown, Chairman, President and CEO of Web.com, a leader in providing “one stop” technology-based, online services to small businesses.
Brown stated it’s a challenge for entrepreneurs because of the lack of time and the inability to focus on this critical area because of many priorities which need to be addressed daily..
As he states, “Business is, essentially 24/7 and clients and customers want the opportunity to access you when they have the opportunity and on their terms”
Brown shared this startling observation as well from a Web.com, September 13, 2013 report. Many small businesses are slow to embrace technology and online services as part of their strategic approach.
While many recognize its value and need, the adoption rate for online services is still too low. This needs to be addressed.
The study indicates larger businesses appreciate engaging smaller businesses because of personalization’ however, this needs to be balanced with technology solutions which enable
customers to engage your business at any point and time.
According to Brown’s Web.com report, here are tips as you address technology and consider making it an integral part of your strategy:
- It’s time to get in the game or to take it to the next level. Take a measured, common sense approach to extend your business assets on the web and in social media.
- Focus your web and social media initiatives on what you do best and your customers want most: to enrich and empower your personal relationships.
- Take steps now to build a web presence and social media habits for the future, realizing you can address the urgency of your customers today.
- Understand that you can still “do it yourself” and maintain the control that is so important, but you can also turn to an expert who can help take you to the next level.
- Evaluate a web services provider from the perspective of a partner who can help you achieve your personal best – in business and in life
While nothing in business is guaranteed, there are steps you can take to assist in growing your business–developing an effective, integrated plan and using technology as an enabler to better serve client’s and their needs.