There are a wide variety of ways to develop a business plan and the best thing you can do is find what will work best for you. A construction lawyer I know asked what approach I used. I have shared a good deal of this with you before, but I feel it is worth sharing again because my five critical steps are likely the same ones you must take.
- I decided my target market – who did I want to hire me. At first it was large contractors in Southwest Virginia. I did not want to target small subcontractors or home builders. At the end of my career my target market was the Top 100 transportation construction contractors in the United States.
- I thought about what I wanted the target market to hire me to do. At first I wanted those contractors to hire me to litigate their contract disputes. I did not want to handle construction accident cases or anything else covered by insurance. Later in my career I wanted transportation contractors to hire me to negotiate, arbitrate and litigate their contract disputes, help them avoid contract disputes, help them with design-build and innovative financed projects, help them with ethics programs, help them with disadvantaged business enterprise issues and a variety of other day-to-day issues.
- I focused on what I needed to learn. At first, I focused on gathering cases. I had notebooks filled with every highway, bridge, rail and airport construction contract case I could find. I also focused on construction management and built a library, I learned how scheduling was done on big projects. Later I learned how highways and bridges were designed, bid and constructed and what caused failures. Finally I learned about innovative financing and design-build issues.
- I took the steps necessary to become visible and credible to transportation contractor clients. I wrote a law review article and spoke at an ABA Annual Meeting. I began speaking at state and local contractor association meetings. That led to speaking at national construction association meetings. That led to me being asked to write a monthly column for Roads and Bridges magazine. By the end of my career, I was clearly known by every contractor in my target market.
- I focused on referral sources. The best referral sources for me were association executives. In addition, I focused on equipment dealers, bankers, accountants and surety brokers who focused on transportation construction. That group became my network.
I sincerely hope you can see how this approach to planning can work for you.