Everyone who is in business (and most of those who aren’t) have heard of Business Plans.
To some people they are a mythical work of art, produced by the “elite” amongst businesses – a document they may aspire to have… but only if their business reaches the heady heights of “big” business.
Others may consider them an unnecessary exercise – produced only by people who “don’t really know their own business”.
To others they are an essential tool in the life and growth of their business.
And to most business people who don’t have one they are something they have thought about, considered completing, but never got round to doing.
A viable and current Business Plan is the most important document on which your company will spend time preparing.
Planning is key to a growing business – but a plan must not be set in stone, it must grow and develop with the business.
What is it that makes the Business Plan so important?
- It helps you to keep focused
- It focuses on your objectives
- You can see when you’re going off track
- You’ll need it if and when you need to arrange funding
So, what is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a written statement of your business. It is a plan of what you want to achieve and how you plan to go about doing it.
It should outline the structure of your business, the product or service, the customer, the growth potential, potential barriers to achieving your goals and how you will overcome them, and the financials.
However a good business plan is more than just information about your business… It should inspire you, as the manager, and everyone else involved in the business. This inspiration will form the foundation to the blueprint for your future. It will give you, and everyone else in involved with your business, a clear understanding of how you intend to get there.
However, It is very important to remember that the world does not stand still and neither does business. Business Plans must be “organic” and evolve over time. You can’t control the future, and the outside circumstances, for example the economy or strikes, will have an effect on the shape and direction of your business. But a good business plan will give you a clear direction to aim for, and help you to plan for the unexpected..
Every business should have a plan whether it is to open a second shop or float on the stock exchange.
It is why you are in business. It helps you to define strategy and, if properly used, will help you involve and motivate key members of staff.
It allows you to work out how to make your business a success and can help you avoid failure by plotting the pitfalls along the way. It should outline a realistic target for how that can happen while remaining flexible enough to make changes along the way. By setting out a plan and some targets, you can also monitor your progress and get the business back on track fairly quickly if anything goes wrong.