Direct Marketing Article
Our Nation's Economic Recovery Hinges on Small
By Richard B. Sanford
Small businesses are considered the backbone of the American economy and
with national leaders saying the economic revival begins with small firms
and their entrepreneurs , a well executed business strategy has never been
In past recessions, independent smaller businesses helped fuel economic
recoveries. But tightened credit, government regulatory impediments and a
lack of Federal support for Community Banks – the principal source of
capital and financial support for small business – has many modern day
entrepreneurs fearful of what the future may hold! Proper planning and a
well-executed business strategic plan for growing their business, though,
can clear the way for a smaller enterprise to expand and take reasonable
risks that will lead to an improved bottom line.
Most people are not aware that the American small business first year
success rate is 20% and has been unchanged, decade after decade, according
to the U.S. Small business Administration. And for those enterprises
surviving the first year business obstacle course, only 20% of them make it
to the third to fifth year winners circle. But, in spite of this dismal
record, a miracle continuously occurs year after year. Small business
generates approximately 72% of all new jobs in America, every year! Small
business is the job generator in our country. The challenge facing American
entrepreneurs is to increase this job producing success rate!
"How" to do it, is the real challenge. This challenge faced me personally,
in 1969, when I left big business marketing management and became an
entrepreneur. The tools I had available to me in a big business setting
were; staff, a budget ($$$), giant computers, extensive and expensive
software, huge data banks of marketing , sales, and consumer preference
surveys, all were non-existent to a start-up entrepreneur!
texts on strategic planning revealed (the ones I discovered anyway) were
aimed at big business and were focused at telling the reader 'what' to do,
not 'how' to do it! As a result, I created a simplified strategic business
planning model I used to create and grow eleven successful small businesses,
most generating income in the six figure range, one in the seven figure
range and one at $136,000,000. What I learned from the experience was "the
heart and soul of any small business is its strategic business plan", and a
formal strategic plan increases an entrepreneur's odds for success. I have
observed coaching entrepreneurs that every small business failure is a
direct result of insufficient planning and the faulty decision making that
follows, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Here are some Simplified Strategic Planning tips for Entrepreneurs, gleaned
from this inter-active desk-top Handbook
• An enterprise's strategic plan is the foundation and framework that
outlines how to think, how to plan, and how to take action to power the
enterprise forward to ever-increasing income and profit.
• You must have a strategy. An entrepreneur's dreams for a successful
business venture require strategic planning to turn them into reality. If
you don't have a strategic plan, create one before you make another
• You become what you think about all day long. If you can visualize
success, chances are good you'll achieve it. But, if all you do is fret
about potential failure, it can and often will, become a self-fulfilling
prophecy. Think success and encourage your business team to do the same.
• There may be situations out of the control of an owner, but customer
service is not one of them! Every business controls how they serve their
customers. The ones who can't get a handle on that simple fact will fail,
plain and simple!
The irony of small business is that, as a business sector, it should be
considered 'too big to fail'. The problem is, small business does not have
the luxury of a government bailout. It needs to heal itself from the inside,
using only available resources and the wits and intuition in their leader's
heads . With all things being equal in the market place, no matter the
economic conditions, strategic planning makes the difference between success
and failure every time. And simplified strategic business planning makes it
a whole lot easier!
About the Author:
An entrepreneur from the age of 14, who served in the U.S. Air Force during
the Korean War,
Richard B. (Dick) Sanford has built distinguished careers in adult
education, investment management and the insurance industry while leading
the cause of small business in his home state of Michigan, where he lead the
organizing of the Small Business Association of Michigan in 1969,which has
grown to become the largest business trade association in the state . He
continues to serve as it's Founder and Honorary Chairman.
Small business entrepreneurs now have available, a new strategic planning
model that simplifies the strategic planning process, one that is easy to
understand , easy to comprehend and easy to execute. It's called Success By
Design and can be found at www.ssbp.biz .