5 things to include in your business plan to grow sales and revenue

Guide To Small Business Success - grow sales & revenue

This article is published as part of our “SMB Success”, a program designed to help small and medium sized brands succeed. For questions, comments or suggestions, please write to editor@vpersonalize.com


One of the most important things any business should do is create and update their business plan at least once a year. A lot of small businesses skip this step and lose out on growth. Just as you use a GPS to drive, an Annual Business Plan (ABP) provides a route map for your business for the next twelve months.

Once the previous year’s dust has settled and you can look to the year ahead, spend time in January to gain a clearer vision of where your business aims to be. Not only will an annual business plan define your objectives for the coming twelve months; it can also construct the roadmap for meeting those goals.

Using the strategic planning and performance measures we outline below, combined with a review of your expectations and results from the previous year, you’ll be able to create an annual plan that gives everyone in your organization a sense of where they’re headed and how they will get there.

Here are five things to get you started:

1. Create a Mission Statement

Although you know why your business exists and what you offer, it’s still important to craft a summary that can quickly and effectively communicate it to the rest of the world. Taking the time to build a clear mission statement, and annually reviewing it to make sure it’s still in line with your vision, will help you and your team stay focused on your core business.

It goes without saying that setting and pursuing goals is a critical part of growing your business and will play an important part in your annual plan. Goals will vary from business to business, ranging from reducing expenses, increasing operational efficiency to increasing your market share or bringing traffic to your website.

Although it can feel overwhelming, start by outlining the top 3 to 5 goals and a plan to meet those objectives. Initially outline broad, end-of-the-year goals, then work backwards to create quarterly objectives.

2. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis

A SWOT analysis is used internally to organize your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into an organized list, which is usually presented in a simple two-by-two grid. A SWOT analysis will help outline the best opportunities to pursue and what you should highlight to achieve your business goals. It also assists in identifying areas in which you need to improve and can bring threats to light, where they might otherwise catch you off guard.

Understanding your customers’ needs and how your product fits them will help you establish effective strategies for marketing and sales, as well as future product development. Identify your most valuable markets, develop buyer personas, and track consumer behavior to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors.

With so many alternatives existing today, it becomes increasingly important to stay ahead of your competition. Take the time to evaluate your industry, market size and competition. Identifying your major competitors, researching their products, marketing, and sales strategies.

This will not only help you stay aware of industry trends and consumer expectations, it will also help determine what sets you apart and what your unique competitive advantages are and what can be further developed.

3. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! Measuring performance regularly is a big part of scaling your business. Tracking and analyzing your performance across multiple key areas will help you gain a clear understanding of what is working and what needs improvement.

Some important KPIs to include in your annual plan are sales metrics, customer acquisition, revenue growth, operational metrics such as fulfillment time, returns and refunds. Some not so obvious KPIs are referral rate (word of mouth by an existing customer is the best sales tool you can get).

4. Discover Your Growth Engine

This is where you’ll put a lot of the previous analysis to good use. What marketing strategies should you focus on to increase traffic and time spent on your website, improve conversion rates, and directly reach people that are looking for your products and services?

Think through operational efficiencies you can drive to increase customer engagement and satisfaction (newer products, giving customers more control over product design, faster fulfillment, lower price, etc). Some common themes that work across industries are: what can I do to make my products better, faster, cheaper and put my customer in the driver’s seat.

These typically involve streamlining workflows, improving communication, automating processes or adding product personalization.

5. Plan For Success

Once you have discovered your growth engine, take that information and develop a plan on how to implement and manage it this year. Allocate budget for capital expenses and key areas that will drive growth and revenue for your business this year. Start your research and identify the best suppliers, ecosystem and partners that can help you implement your plan and reach your goals.

We are here to help

One of the top growth engines in the apparel and fashion industry is product customization and automation. From consumer personalization, print-on-demand, bespoke fashion to custom sportswear and sublimated teamwear, we can help with technology for a digital future –  mass-customization, on-demand production and online commerce.

We are the industry leading provider of software for mass customization and on-demand manufacturing at scale. Our technology helps apparel brands and their manufacturers bring designs to market significantly faster, expand product lines and make those products on demand.

We are privileged to have been able to assist some of the best custom apparel and print-on-demand companies in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe scale on-demand production profitably.

For more information or to schedule a demo, visit www.vPersonalize.com or email us at hello@vpersonalize.com

Online commerce may now be a survival necessity

Brick & mortars across the country are amidst an unprecedented closure due to the coronavirus. With hundreds of thousands of employees furloughed, companies are facing vast decreases in revenues and are bracing for the impact that coronavirus will have on them. The harsh reality is that some might not make it to the other side. According to Coresight, an estimated 630,000 outlets have already been forced to close and the National Retail Federation estimates that $430 billion in revenues will disappear over the next three months.

During this time of mass social distancing, consumer purchasing behavior is changing rapidly, perhaps permanently, barreling towards e-commerce and abandoning physical spaces for fear of contagion. While Amazon and Nike are seeing historic numbers, other companies are seeing sharp drop in revenue and scrambling to pivot to digital commerce.

It is believed that covid-19 will have long lasting effects on consumer habits. “When a lot of people are self-quarantined or staying in their homes and being in a lot less public places, we’re going to see a shift in behavior,” says Shelley Kohan, founder of Shelmark Consulting. “We’ve talked about how e-commerce is supposed to grow over the next few years, but this is something that’s going to happen in our first quarter and that is going to change behavior in quarters two, three and four.”

Andrew Lipsman described this phenomenon in Kohan’s article for Forbes, calling it a “step-change,” a short-term change in reaction to a specific event that creates a new, higher plateau for a certain behavior. Lipsman continued, “during the holiday, a time with more concentrated buying activity, consumers spend more online, creating a step-change, meaning the consumer may not return to past behavior. We may see this type of similar behavior unfold over the future.”

Businesses big and small must act now to create a solid digital strategy and align their business models to this new normal.

 

Focus on online sales

If you don’t have a digital strategy, the time to act is now! Even if you already have a fairly sophisticated online presence, prepare to run a large part of your business digitally. Make it easy for customers to purchase your product and services online. Prepare for a low-touch future.

 

Foster good relationships with your customers

Make sure to communicate with your customers clearly and consistently. Let your customers know you are open for business online. Create rewards and incentives. Use your social media presence to keep your customers up to date and connected.

 

Retool key processes for virtualization and automation

As more companies start working remotely and with smaller teams, the move to virtual product development and small batch production will accelerate. Use this time effectively to retool your processes and make changes to facilitate remote communication and less on-site staff.

 

We are here to help

If you are in the apparel space, we can help. We continue to focus on technologies that can support our customers during a period of social distancing and beyond, using tools that reduce the need for in-person contact like virtual product development, design-to-manufacturing accuracy, automation and online commerce.

As you use this time to focus on making your business resilient, we’re here to serve you with technology for a digital future – mass customization, on-demand production and online commerce.

 

Connect with us to learn more: 

www.vPersonalize.com

hello@vpersonalize.com

 

 

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Announcing the launch of a complete technology platform for print-on-demand

complete print on demand platform

We are happy to announce the launch of a full technology stack to turn any dye sublimation or direct to garment (DTG) operation into a complete print and fulfillment house in as little as six weeks!

Our integrated platform includes 3D visualization tools that let your sellers intuitively design, publish and manage their products in 3D, while our inbuilt commerce gateway allows your sellers to automatically create catalogs and publish them to Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce. Our process automation ensures that your factory floor receives production ready files of all end consumer orders with the designs graded to size and ready for manufacturing, minutes from purchase! Use our inbuilt Order Management System to manage and drop ship the orders or use our APIs to connect to your existing Netsuite ERP or Hybris CRM.

Allow as much or as little customization as you prefer. Add buyer personalization or team rosters and still go directly to manufacturing without any manual work. Better still, use your existing supply chain!

The integrated platform allows any DTG or Cut and Sew maker to connect and service as many seller accounts and storefronts as they prefer, support stock designs or full personalization, leverage the patented cross product designer, sell with ready plug-ins for e-commerce and then automatically create print ready files in minutes.

vPersonalize’s makes running thousands of team stores, influencer commerce, in-page artist merchandise or designer storefronts very simple, while leveraging vPersonalize’s industry tested 3D visualization and manufacturing automation technology to create hundreds of thousands of print ready files a day for on-demand manufacturing.

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