12Ps of Business Planning

December 11th, 2012

Merry Christmas from CoachSME

Just about every business owner I know takes time at Christmas to reassess their business achievements and set next year’s goals and new projects. Here are my 12Ps of Business Planning for Christmas to help you focus you’re thinking.

1.  Price

  • What are your product margins? No, I mean the real margin – remember to add all of the costs into the cost of goods sold ( not just the cost of the product) before deducting from your selling price to get your margin
  • When was the last time you increased prices? Your costs will have gone up so it’s definitely time to raise prices.
  • Can you add any premium priced products?
  • What about packages – what low cost but high perceived extras can you add in?
  • How much obsolete or discontinued stock do you have and how can you sell it to get some cash back into the business?
  • Can you drive a better deal on your purchasing – how long is it since you put pressure on your suppliers?

2. Product

  • Which products are reaching the end of their life cycle and what do you replace them with?
  • What revolutionary or evolutionary product development must you do?
  • What are competitors up to with their products and offerings?
  • How can you make your product more cheaply – what processes or materials can you refine?
  • What do your customers really want from you?
  • Who else can you sell your products to – what other markets could you expand into?

3. Place

  • What’s happening in your channels to market?
  • New distributors, wholesalers, sales teams, export markets, etc. what do you need to hit your new sales targets?
  • Are you making the most of the on-line opportunity – is the focus shifting from bricks to clicks?
  • So, how good is your customer service – truthfully – what do you need to address?
  • Can you distribute your product in a more cost effective way?

4. Promotion

  • Review what has worked and what needs changing. What will you measure this year?
  • More PR, case studies & testimonials perhaps – certainly more social media, more of your customers are searching on-line for information
  • What are your messages, what do you want customers to hear and where will they be listening?
  • What budget do you need? It’s not just about money these days – you need to budget time if you are running on-line communications.
  • How are you going to mix the elements of the promotional mix – test what works best for your business.

5. People

  • Which 10% of your team should you be replacing with better people?
  • How will you motivate your team, how will you engage them to help you achieve your goals?
  • Don’t forget that customers and suppliers are people too, treat them well?
  • Do you have the right external advisers and the experts to help you?
  • Have you ‘protected’ your key people?

6. Plans

  • It’s time to set new objectives for next 12, 24 and 36 months – why not set a ‘BHAG’ – A Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Remember to write them down and share them
  • Don’t forget your personal goals – is the exit strategy still on track?
  • Schedule regular reviews in your diary now so you don’t let the plans slip.
  • Prepare the one page plan, supporting cash flow and high level action plans

7. Profit

  • Set your targets for gross, net and product profitability
  • Can you reduce your overheads to increase your profit? Can you reduce wastage again?
  • How can you increase sales?
  • How will you fund your growth plans?
  • Review your bank statements – check all those direct debits that have mounted up – do you still need them, if not cancel them now?

8. Processes

  • Do you have documented processes throughout your business? If not how can people manage themselves without processes?
  • Review the processes – where are the holes, the blockages, the gaps that constantly trip you up?
  • What processes are duplicated by several people?
  • What can you automate?
  • MacDonalds is the ultimate in processes – what could you learn from them?
  • Start at the bottom of the business and get your teams involved to define and then refine the process.

9. Performance

  • How do you know what you achieved last year? Did you track the right things?
  • What KPI’s do you or should you track?
  • Set your target performance levels, anything outside the variance needs your attention – now!
  • It’s all about achieving the goal – without the target you can’t measure, adjust and re-adjust performance.
  • Tell your team what they need to achieve; if they don’t know then they can’t work towards the goal.

10. Proposition

  • So, what are you really selling – does that solve your client’s problem?
  • Be clear about the problems that you r product / service solves and use these as the lead marketing messages.
  • Do you need to change your elevator pitch, your proposals, your presentations etc.?
  • Are the messages consistent?
  • Who is saying what about your business – remember that customer perceptions are reality in their mind!

11. Planet

  • The 3 R’s Reduce, Re-use and Recycle – are you doing everything you can
  • It might be green but it does make business sense – just reducing waste will add to your bottom line.
  • Make it you New Year’s resolution to help the planet

12. Personal and Play (and Presents)

  • Is your exit strategy still on track?
  • Is your work / life balance good, if not what do you need to change?
  • Make your dispensable – then you can have more time off!
  • Are you reaping the rewards of your hard work? Time to review your objectives?
  • PLAY – make sure you have time for this
  • Time for a Health check perhaps – are you looking after your own well-being?
  • PRESENTS – did you earn those presents to yourself?

My very best wishes for the festive season. Good luck with your planning for 2013 and beyond.

If this blog has piqued your interest then you can find another 25Ps to help you to accelerate the growth in your business in The P-Plan for Business™ available on Kindle now.



Shirley Mansfield is a highly experienced business coach and Master Problem Solver. With over 25 years’ experience, she founded CoachSME in 2011 to work with business owners to maximise growth, and she is still trying to reduce the 14 handicap! Keep up to date by following me on Twitter @coachsme