Who has a business plan?
How many small to medium sized businesses have documented business plans and how many reference back to it regularly? In my experience not many!
A business plan should be a living and breathing document. Hence the strategies to achieve your goals will always evolve. As your business environment changes, the plan’s actions and strategies should evolve and adapt. It may sound like a daunting assignment, but evidence suggests a well-written business plan contributes to a successful business.
Building a business from scratch can be challenging, therefore, creating a business plan compels you to systematically think through every aspect of your business and develop a solid blueprint to follow. A business plan will help you map your business strategy for the future and motivate you to reach your goals. It will help you anticipate obstacles and work out solutions for overcoming them, thereby reducing anxiety and stress. Additionally, the process of writing a business plan will likely reveal the level of commitment you need to devote to your business.
What a business plan should include:
Some of the essential elements I like to include in a business plan are:
- An overview of your businesses
- Products/services you offer
- Marketing strategy
- Management team & business structure
- Market analysis
- Competition analysis
- Strengths & Challenges
- Strategic goals including when & how
- Action Plan
- Financial projections such as cash flow; profit and loss and balance sheet projections.
The most important aspect of the above are the strategic goals you set which leads into the action plan. The ‘how, what, why and when’ all need to be addressed.
So stop and consider where do you want your business to be in a years’ time through to medium and long term? From my experience having someone like your accountant involved with the process helps to not only add value but also helps to keep everyone accountable for the actions created. The accountability factor shouldn’t be underestimated and with the right planning and some focus you can set your business up for some extraordinary results.