Here are some business development questions that you, as a business owner, need to ask over and over as your market evolves and your strategic plan changes. Very often, the answers will change in response to evolving conditions. It is important that you change as well, when it is necessary.

4. What does your customer consider value? What does your customer want to enjoy or receive from your product or service more than anything else? What must your customer be convinced of in order to buy your product or service rather than that of someone else? The answer to this question is at the core of your strategic plan for business development. It is at the core of all of your marketing, advertising and selling activities.

5. What do you do especially well? In what areas do you excel? What is your competitive advantage? What makes your product or service superior to that of any competing product? As former GE chairman Jack Welch said, “If you don’t have competitive advantage, don’t compete.” As a business owner, your first responsibility when you start your business and throughout your business life is to develop and maintain a competitive advantage—an area of excellence in comparison to your competitors that your ideal customers want, need and will pay for. What is yours?

6. What are your goals? You know the importance of detailed, business development planning 12, 18, 24 months ahead. Before you create a strategic plan of action, you must know the answers to the following questions: What are your sales goals for the next year, broken down by month or even week and day? What are your goals for profitability? How much do you need or want to earn from your business activities? What are your growth goals? What percentage of the market do you want to capture? The more specific and clear your goals, the more likely it is that you will achieve them. Most of all, ask yourself if everyone involved in your business knows exactly what those goals are.

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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to www.briantracy.com.