Every business, no matter how small, needs a business plan. It’s an essential tool if you need a loan or want to attract a business partner, but its usefulness doesn’t end there.
In the early days, a plan that includes a description of your business, its goals, strategies to achieve those goals, assets, competitors and detailed financial information will help to turn vague dreams into a realistic enterprise. Thoroughly researching facts and figures to include in your business plan will highlight potential problems and spark new ideas. Remember to seek help from a bookkeeper for extra support if necessary.
Once the business is up and running, many business owners put their business plan aside and forget about it. This is a big mistake. No matter how busy you are, occasionally reviewing and revising your business plan allows you to look up from the day-to-day details of your business and see the whole picture again. In particular, it should make you ask some of the following questions:
How close are you to your original goals?
If those goals are in sight, what next?
How accurate were your financial forecasts?
If you’re struggling to meet targets, what’s going wrong?
Are you still enthusiastic about your product or service?
Has the market changed?
What are your competitors doing?
Have you reacted to customers’ feedback?
What can you do to improve anything you’re unhappy with?
Nothing stands still in business, and it’s impossible to plan for the unexpected: a new competitor suddenly appears, you win a big contract, or new government regulations mean you have to redesign your main product. Anything that affects your business, for better or worse, should be added to your plan. You can then make adjustments where necessary and use that information to steer your business on a different, but still successful, course. If you do not have the time to create a business plan yourself, you could always get an outsourced bookkeeper to do it for you.