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    Kevin Kight's Avatar
    Kevin Kight Guest

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Anacortes, Washington

    Default Re: Business/Marketing Plan

    Here is an article I wrote for the ASHI Reporter in 2010, it should help....

    Business Planning for 2011

    Is there anyone who wont say 2010 was a difficult year for businesses? So, but what lies ahead for your company in 2011? Are you just going to survive or are you going to capitalize on your marketplace?
    One mistake many home inspectors make is that they never update their business plan to reflect the changes in their marketplace. How important is the plan? Whether your business is a one-person start-up or multi-inspector firm, a sound plan is crucial. It's like the steering wheel on a ship. If the ship is in great condition except for a broken steering wheel, it's going to spin hopelessly in circles. Having a direction and a setup of waypoints will make a huge difference.
    Updating your plan or creating a new one is not difficult. Business plans can be one page or book size, based on what your needs are, the level of detail desired and what will work for your business. I break my business plan into five areas: Analysis, Goals, Tactics, Timing and Metrics.
    Here are the basic elements of the plan:
    Analysis Taking a critical look at your business over the past year
    Goals What do you want to accomplish in the 2011? For example: I want to gross $100,000 and get into 5 new real estate offices.
    Tactics How are you going to accomplish the objectives? For example I am going to gross at least $8,750 per month There should be several tactics to support each objective.
    Timing Some tactic are time sensitive and they should be part of the plan. We usually have a calendar that lays out our marketing activities.
    Metrics Measuring your success or failure is critical to executing the plan. Once a month we review where we are and see whats working and where we need more focus.
    Creating your plan for the next 12 months
    Its important to understand whats happening in your marketplace and how your companys been doing. This is the analysis part of the plan. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    What is working well?
    Where is your business coming from? (ads, web, referrals, realtors)
    What are your companys strengths?
    What is working well for your competitors?
    Where do you feel you are losing business?
    Are there business opportunities that you havent been taking advantage of? (specialty inspections, etc)
    What is your cost of doing business?
    Where are your greatest costs?

    The next step is to establish the goals for your company. Many small businessmen will just simple say I want to have $250,000 in sales but you really want to be more granular than that. Lets say the overall goal is to make $250,000 but to get there what smaller goals do you need to accomplish to reach that much in sales? Typically you will have 5 to 10 smaller goals that support the overall goal. Examples are I want to do 5 offices presentations each quarter, I want to the 1st inspection company in the Google search results for my town or I want 30% of my business to come from past customer referrals.
    Tactics will describe steps to accomplish each goals. Tactics are well defined tasks that can easily be measured. To get to the top of the Google rankings you will need to do things such as have your website optimized for the Search Engines, create back links and have a blog. To get into real estate offices to do presentation you will need to go into those offices and ask to be put on their calendar. These are all tactics to accomplish the goals.
    Timing is the scheduling of when things are going to happen. I usually have a timeline that covers my goals and tactics for each month. I post this timeline next to my computer so I can always remind myself on what I committed to for that month or quarter.
    Many business people overlook metrics and just focus on whether they accomplish their big goal. In a dynamic environment such as real estate missing your goal can be frustrating. That is why you should also be measuring the success of you plan by looking at the each of the individual tactics and goals. Looking at the individual components also will allow you to judge how your plan is performing during the business year and tweak the under performing areas. For example, with our reporting system we can look at the source of our customer referrals on a monthly basis and decide if we want to increase our marketing to past clients or increase our Google Adwords budget.
    Many small businessmen let the business drive their actions instead of them driving the business. Without having a plan its next to impossible to be in the drivers seat. If you want to be in the drivers seat you will need a plan to tell you where to go.
    For more information on developing business plans two good resources are the Small Business Administration (The U.S. Small Business Administration | or SCORE (SCORE |)
    Rick Bunzel is the principle inspector with Pacific Crest Inspections Pacific Crest Inspections Home inspections located in Anacortes offers home inspections in Skagit, Snohomish, Whatcom and Island Counties and an ASHI Certified Inspector. He hold a BA in Business Marketing and in the past, he chaired the marketing and public relations committees for a national home inspection organization. Locally, he chairs the North Puget Sound Board of Realtors Communications Committee and is a firefighter/ EMT with the Mt. Erie Fire Department in Anacortes, Wa.

    Rick Bunzel


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