01 Mar 2019

Your Next Stop in Strategic Business Planning

Gabriella Bassi

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A Bulgaria-based business development consultant and a digital marketing professional, Plamena Stefanova specializes in customized business consultancy. Her passion for business planning and development has successfully helped a InFrame_1551238702529 number of small Bulgarian, as well as, British enterprises gain confidence in their potential, and optimize their resources leading to accomplishing company targets, investment returns, and high profitability. Business development solutions such as: financial projections, budgets, brand building, digital presence, and strategic planning are all covered by her broad expertise, built through a long experience in FMCG, fashion retail industry, and many more. Plamena works with a business partner based in the UK enabling her to offer highly-efficient, comprehensive business planning solutions to her clients. I am pleased to introduce Plamena Stefanova, a StartUps Bulgaria Ambassador at IBA.Connect.

1. What drives you to do what you do?

We are only willing to work with businesses and brands we strongly believe in. Our customer base is pre-selected. The way we approach each new partnership is very personal. For the set period of our contract, our client becomes like our own business, and this is our strongest motivation; giving life and more opportunities to an idea/service or a product that is projected to have a positive influence over people. Mostly, we feel like it is our own child that we are nourishing, so even after the project has been completed, we continue to update ourselves with the progress of its development, and add on new ideas, if necessary.

2. What is the most common challenge you face when dealing with Bulgarian companies?

I am very proud to say that Bulgaria has great minds. A significant number of the businesses we’ve worked with in the past has shown innovative ideas and huge potential. However, a common challenge, also leading to unnecessary turbulence, appears to be the business owners’ mindset of "I know it all!" And the whole attitude of "It’s my business! I, and I alone know best what it takes to succeed". Or as I’d like to call it the one-man-show case. Speaking from experience, if more business owners start trusting professionals in their designated areas, to get things done for them, a great deal of time and resources, going into exploring their potential, will be saved for their own sake.

3. Is it quite usual for businesses to fail in recognizing their need for professional assistance? Do your consultancy services include taking the first step of approaching and making businesses aware of what might be the reason for their loss or bankruptcy?

No, we don’t use such a practice. We wouldn’t like to approach an organization by saying "Hello, we know exactly what you are lacking and we can fix it!'. It is not our mindset, nor the way we work with our partners. Firstly, we partner up with our customers, so we have a partner relationship, in which we’re co-ordinately  following the same targets, and are growing together side by side. And secondly, we work upon referrals. In 90% of the cases, our new customers contact us for help, because we’ve been recommended by a previous customer satisfied with us. And this is our greatest reward in the process.

We don’t follow a policy of approaching companies, at least not by pointing out their flaws; in that 10%, we may get in touch with businesses just because we are passionate about what they do and see a great potential for a stable expansion.

Plamena1

4. Business has established that something needs to be done, and reach out to you. What are the main steps that you take in the process?

And here comes, perhaps a small surprise for our prosperous clients. As we provide top quality services to every customer, we require the same level of commitment in return. Our first step is always an introductory meeting or a call, so we can understand their business needs and goals. We do something like a short interview (even though it never feels like that, it’s more of a casual chat) to help us establish whether we both parties are suited to take upon these new challenges together, whether we are on the same page. I’d like to highlight here, the difficulty we face when a business owner has no faith in consultancy service in general. If you have anything but full confidence in our work will take things to a dead end road. So to save time and energy, we’ve created this first introductory step, which works pretty well.

Once we know, we share a common vision, we proceed towards tailoring a customised business development plan, based on research and examination of client’s individual needs and those areas needing improvement. This is a crucial part of the process, as we break down methods, strategies, tools to choose those most suiting the specific nature of the organization and apply them on. We never use ready templates of what might be trendy or popular in the respective business sector, but build strategic plans from scratch in an attempt to respond to our client’s individuality.  

And then comes the execution process and the outcomes.

5. If there was a single formula for а successful business, what would that be?

The formula for success is, again, strictly individual alike the specific needs every business has. Yet, if there was one "must have" ingredient in every formula, it should’ve been "no compromises in quality at any stage, department or idea" plus "transparent communication and regular check-ups". Here you go, I’ve already given a couple.

To us, success is hidden in the small steps we take. Me and my partner, we literally celebrate success on a daily basis, which helps us grow bigger. And that is the kind of spirit we would like to maintain across all tasks we undertake and promote among our customers too.

6. What are your biggest achievements so far?

As our biggest achievements, we count our work ethics and approach; our ability to be flexible and to adapt to the individual needs to our customers. Speaking of news, we’ve recently added the premium Instagram service to our offerings that is content publishing and management, following our partnership with one of the biggest Instagram agencies worldwide. So we are super excited to be offering our customers this new feature for growth on the platform of one of the most popular social medias today, Instagram, which is presenting exposure opportunities and advantages to more and more businesses every day.

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Categories: IBA Blog , Friday Buzziness

Tags: #strategic #business #planning #fridaybuzziness #IBAblog #IBAcolumn

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