Have You Prepared For Success?

A very famous and successful former head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, Lou Holtz said “success comes with PREPARATION”.  For Coach Holtz, that meant practicing every day, improving his player’s skills, physical training, running plays and reviewing game tapes.  He said that without preparation, your chance of success in any of life’s endeavours is slim to none.  But how does this relate to your business?  Read More

If you were going to drive down to Florida for a two week vacation, would you just throw your clubs in the trunk and go?  Not likely.  You would get your car serviced, carefully pack the clothes you need and print off Google Maps or load the GPS.  You would make reservations at hotels for your overnight stops, and the list goes on.  This is called preparation and is mandatory to ensure you arrive safely to your destination with everything you need for an enjoyable vacation.

In business you must prepare well in advance to achieve your goals and objectives.  We all want to make money, but profit doesn’t happen by accident.  The first step in preparing for success is to build a comprehensive business plan.  Let’s call this your game book.  If a football team tried to play without a game book with all their planned plays it would be utter chaos on the field and, no doubt, would result in a loss.

The disturbing part for me as a Profit Solutions Specialist and Consultant is that business plans are not typically prepared or used by most dealers in this industry.  At best I am told that written goals are prepared for the year and a strategy on how to achieve them is considered.  This is a start but certainly not a winning business plan. 

Statistics have proven that 80% of businesses fail in the first five years and Dunn & Bradstreet reports that 90% fail in the first 10 years.  The undisputed reason is that entrepreneurs fail to prepare for success and don’t have a winning business plan to guide the successful operation of their business.  There are two key reasons for preparing a business plan:

  1. You want to determine the optimum strategy and game plan to grow your business.
  2. You want or need to raise money.

To achieve these two key objectives by building a winning business plan you have to understand what it takes to be successful in this industry.  To do that you need to break down your plan down into 5 elements.

  1. Identify the right overall value proposition:  Offer the right products and/or services that your customers want and that will drive them to shop at your dealership.
  2. Create the right marketing and sales strategy:  This is not just creating some ad planners for your local news media and radio stations.  Your strategy needs to create a desire for your customers to visit your dealership through your advertising, website, and all other media opportunities.
  3. Identify the right Business Model:  Establish what is going to work best for your value proposition.  Are you selling to a particular niche market, do you want to be a high volume dealer, is service your claim to fame and so on?
  4. Build an Action Plan:  This is the most comprehensive part of the business plan.  First, you need to understand in detail how your company has performed financially over the last few years.  You can then apply industry ratio and percentage targets to build your financial assumptions.  By using your sales history, value proposition and business model you can then project your sales for the plan period.  This will establish your profit potential. 
  5. Communicate brilliantly:   Your key to success is to fully understand your business plan and communicate it effectively.  This would include to lenders, employees and distributors and/or key customers.

Once you have your winning business plan in place you must then monitor it every month to ensure you are on route to your profit objective.  When I opened Lifeline Business Solutions, my business consultant gave me some very good advice that I apply to my own business and to my clients.  He said, “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”. 

So prepare your business for success and build a winning business plan.  If you need help or guidance, contact me for a free consultation.

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