Planning – the GPS for Your Design Business

I can’t imagine being without GPS. In a flash I can get directions, find the nearest coffee shop or make a quick dinner reservation. It’s a time saver and a life saver. I don’t have to worry anymore about losing my way. Can you say the same for your design business?

Making a business plan is like having a GPS for your business. Without a plan, you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there, or even whether you’re making any progress. You may feel pretty good about where you are; but let’s face it, you’re lost.

GPS works on the principle of triangulation – using two known points to locate a third point. Planning works in a similar way. To create a successful plan, you first have to know where you are: What is the state of your business now (revenues, expenses, gross and net profit, current and potential clients, potential market, opportunities, challenges, etc.)? Next, you need to decide where you want to get to (increase revenues/profit, grow your firm, expand, transition into other markets, change your mix of services, sell more product, increase your pool of “best” clients, etc.).

With those two points – your current condition and your vision – you can then determine the third point, your goals. What will you have to achieve or do differently in order to realize your vision, in what order do you need to tackle them and by when, and what will it take to meet those goals (time, capital, personnel, equipment, culture change)? The answers to those questions will give you the set of directions you need to get you where you want to go.

I hope 2014 has been a good year for you. Now is the time to begin planning for 2015 to ensure that it will be even a better one.


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