Every business needs a plan. Without one, you’re rudderless. But with one, you can chart a course and steer toward it.
If you’re just finishing ICA School training or you’ve been working as an inspector for a short while, you might think more about customers than anything else. That’s normal, but you also need to step back and think about where you want to go.
A 5- and 10-year plan might sound like something for a suit-and-tie sort of business. But pioneering psychologist Edwin A Locke famously said that specific goals improve performance. You might not hit a goal every time, but you’ll be more likely to make progress with a plan than without one.
Starting a 5-Year Business Plan
A typical business plan contains several different sections. You’ll want a mission statement (even if you’re the only one who ever reads it), a list of your business strengths and weaknesses, a list of goals that you want to achieve within 5 years, and measures of success. Measures of success are the things that you do which can be monitored and then tweaked if necessary for better results.
For example, Forbes explains that if you typically have a process, such as handing out 100 business cards, and you get 5 referrals from them, you can reasonably expect to get 10 referrals from 200 business cards. The same applies to any habits that you have which you can track and tweak.
Adding in Helpful Components
Now you can expand on the basics. You’ll want to identify your target audience. Home buyers are probably your biggest potential pool of business, at least at this stage. Then do a little research on how the home inspection industry is performing in your area. With that information, you can move to the next step, which is identifying (or creating) what sets you apart as a better business. What’s your edge?
Then comes a marketing strategy. How will you promote your business? Does social media work for you? This section will contain some of your “tweakable” measures of success. Finally, you’ll want to formally plot out how you’ll run your business and what your financial goals should be. Don’t be shy, you can only reach a monetary goal if you set one. And once the plan is fully fashioned, you’ll have a much better idea about how to get there. Such as handing out more business cards.
Making the Next Plan
If you have a 5-year plan, wouldn’t you only need to slide the scale a bit and aim for higher profits at the end of the time period? Maybe, but what if you have grander ideas about the future of your business? With a 5-year plan in hand, you can revisit the whole thing section by section and reevaluate old goals with fresh eyes. You might stumble onto a few surprises.
For example, your target audience. In 5 years, home buyers might still be your bread and butter. But they aren’t the only ones interested in a home inspection. Through experience in the industry and contacts that you make, you might decide to branch out. Maybe you’ll want to target homeowners so that they can learn about hidden problems that need repair. Or maybe you’ll decide to train for disaster inspections.
With a 5-year plan, you have parameters and goals. And time-tested research has shown that goals improve performance. That helps you stay on track, even if you don’t hit the mark.
Because a lot can change in 5 years, you’ll want to form a new plan once the first one has served its purpose. Maybe business cards will become obsolete and there’ll be some new way to get your name out there. Or just maybe in 5 years your business will have grown so much that you’ll need to hire employees. You never know what the future holds, but with a plan you can help design it.
If you’re nowhere near the 5-year plan stage and just want to get your education, ICA School is the right place. Enroll now and start your self-paced home inspecting course today.