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Business PlanningI have written articles before about consumer centric thinking. Taking the approach that to be successful we need to learn to think like our clients.

Never has that been more true than today.

Our world is more competitive than it has ever been and  often times, we are lured to the supplier or service provider through internet marketing.

The important point is, as entrepreneurs, we learn to speak the clients language and not ours. In the creation of a business plan, we immerse ourselves in a different world. It is a world that is dominated by complex banking and legal discussions. A framework of technical jargon that frankly rings true to the old saying, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, overwhelm them with BS”. We compose a business plan that has our values and ambitions at the core. It is not a surprise then, when we come out of that process speaking a different language.

Many people who write a business plan or start a business give little credit to who their clients are and where they are going to come from. They make complex extrapolations around growth projections, clients engagement and value per client. But the marketing plan is often weak.

The first aspect of a plan has to start with who is the client and how can you attract them. Without that, there is no further plan. Sometimes I see plans with great potential, they may have amazing technology, but technology in and of itself may not be the solution the client is looking for.

Here are three areas of focus that are critical in terms of relating to your clients:

Was your idea created from your own vision or a demand from potential consumers that needed a solution. As my business partner often says “Are you drinking your own Kool Aid”. Perhaps you need to change the flavour.

What is the plan to attract the consumers. Product creation is not enough – what is the distribution plan?

When you present to consumers are you talking in your language or theirs. I had a conversation a few days ago where someone was excited about their business and lost me in the use of their industries jargon. The terms we use within our own industry often need to be translated so that the consumer understands them.

So at the end of the day, it really is all about the client. When a business fails, there is only one reason. There were not enough clients! Put them first and foremost and take yourself out of the centre of the equation.

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