Unfortunately too few businesses write effective business plans, or indeed any business plan at all. Our surveys of thousands of business owners over the last two decades show business planning to be a rare activity that is rarely done well.
In this article, i'm going to share a few tips that will help you write an effective business plan that will help you achieve the goals you set for your business.
Goal Setting - an important first step in any business is setting a goal for yourself and the business. This will help you align all activities in the business to a known destination. Goals can be around financial objectives or other parameters like lifestyle, but they are a critical part of any good plan. Otherwise you will not know where you are heading.
Situation Analysis - it is always good to know the specifics of your current situation in comparison to the goals you've set. This is a good reality check to help you understand how far away from your goals you are. These gaps in revenue, lifestyle, client numbers, market share or whatever measures you are using then establish another important piece of information for you in your business plan.
Be real and honest in this assessment. Check on how you compare to competitors. Survey your customers. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Issues you need to handle.
Establish parameters - We can often get off track in our business. So it is important to now establish some parameters for your business to keep you on track towards your goals. Giving yourself limits on what you will focus on, and what you will avoid wasting time and money on are good for focussing your business on the desirable outcomes. It will also help you avoid chasing 'shiny objects' - a downfall of many entrepreneurs.
Activity Planning - once you know your goals, your current situation and have set some guidelines for yourself, you can now get down to planning out the things you need to do to get to your goal. I find breaking these down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily activities can help you 'eat the elephant one bite at a time'.
Status Report - as you progress towards your overall plan, you'll want to track your activity and results in order to see how far and how well you are progressing towards your goals.
I've used these elements to prepare hundreds of successful business plans, to reorient our own business, and to grow client businesses. Over $2billion in revenue growth for our clients over twenty years. So I know they work.
And they can work for you too.
Enjoy the journey.