Business System Planning

...And The Cooks You Should Learn From

by Arturo F Munoz

spice and pestle business planning

Business system planning sounds the way onion fumes smell. Both can make you teary eyed. What small business owner likes to sit down to face a blank sheet of paper and the task of having to create a plan to uh...?

That's right! You don't even know what you want to plan for. You know what you want. But plan for it? Oh, c'mon... (Groan!) Can we just get to the money-making part? So imagine having to create a business system plan! Yuck!

And yet, without setting up a systematic way of doing business, all you'll have is a flash in the pan the moment you make a little bit of money. How do you know that you'll make it beyond a few sales? What will make your business sustainable? What will guarantee repeat customers and a steady and growing stream of money coming your way with your daily efforts?

"Alright then," you might say, "But does it really have to take writing up a P-L-A-N?"

Look. I also prefer to whine than plan. But a moment comes in every serious entrepreneur's life when planning cannot be avoided. I'm about to give you, nevertheless, the single most important ingredient in your plan that will get you not just started in business system planning, but thrilled about filling out that blank sheet of paper with unique and useful information. Do it right and you'll be done in a jiffy!

Where's The Spice In Business System Planning?

The secret ingredient in business system planning is the answer to one question. That question is "Why should I buy from you?" It is asked by your ideal customer, by the person you wish to work with and work for the most.

I'm going to leave aside for another time the topic of how to find and know your ideal client. In this article we will focus on identifying what sets you apart. We want to know what is it that you promise your ideal customer that makes you incomparable in the eyes of an exclusive group of people. There is something that this group of people want that not only you can provide but which you alone can provide unlike any other. This is what sets you apart. This is what answers the question of why it should be you and not somebody else who gets the sale.

As part of a series on how to create a unique selling proposition (USP), this article will further describe the first characteristics of a USP. Your company's USP is the secret ingredient to successful business system planning. And the first attribute of a USP is that it must scream benefit to your ideal customer.

Same Old Chicken, Same Old Recipe Book, Why 3 Different Cooks?

Few businesses are as competitive as restaurants. Not unlike your 3 local gas stations sharing 3 different corners at the same crossroad in your town, restaurants most often bid for visitors only a few feet from one another. Competition is brutal. Menus and good cooking are not enough. The same applies with even greater intensity with cooking shows.

Over the years a few have become classics. They're like that particular restaurant that never goes out of business and is always full no matter the time of year, or that gas station that hugs that corner of the street decade after decade outlasting all the others. What gives them this staying power?

What gives these businesses their staying power is the loudness and clarity of the benefit that they shout to their ideal customers. Consider the following 3 TV chefs as illustrations. Study their distinctive appeals. What chief benefit do they promise to their audiences?

Alton Brown from Good Eats exudes confidence as "The Cooking Teacher of The Year" according to Bon Appétit, providing profound insights on the science of cooking in an indelibly humorous way.

Jeff Smith from The Frugal Gourmet provided humor as well. But this isn't sufficient benefit. Many other TV chefs offer the same. His particular brand of benefit was classy historical vignettes and localisms that offered an insider's guide on how man has managed to eat from family traditions across the centuries.

Julia Child from Mastering The Art Of French Cooking had a quirky sense of humor that certainly would not have provided sufficient fuel to steam an oyster. But her shout to culinary distinction was her ability to take the particularly multifaceted and demanding process of French cuisine and simplify it for the inexperienced homemaker of her day to produce with ease some of the most exquisite and intricately prepared meals in the world.

Each of these chefs appeals to a particular audience using a particular top benefit that comes across loud and clear to make each cook distinct from the other and superior to most. This focus on an exclusive top benefit is the essence of your USP. It makes up the spice of business system planning.

What top benefit do you offer a particular ideal audience and are you building your business system based on it? In our next segment, we will look at what combines with benefit to give your USP and business plan stickiness in the mind of your ideal client.

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