Writing a business plan is essential to success in any enterprise. It’s about leadership. A business owner who doesn’t plan is not leading. A business plan states what you expect to accomplish in the months and years ahead and then defines how it’s going to be done. A business plan is comprised of many components including business goals, marketing plans, sale projections and operational objectives. The starting point is defining the vision and ideas that will shape the future of the business. The supporting components are a definition of what will be done to make the vision and ideas come to fruition. It’s important to be realistic in defining what will be accomplished. Setting unachievable goals will invalidate the entire plan. It must be remembered that the purpose of the plan is to ensure success.
Stating Your Vision
Every successful business owner has a vision of what they want their business to become. And they strive to achieve that vision in what they do. In other words, their actions support their goals. So the first step in business planning is to state what will be achieved. This may include multiple objectives and goals. Some may be long range and some short term. But the clearer the statement of vision, objectives and goals the more effective the overall plan will be.
Defining How Your Goals will be Accomplished
Once the objectives and goals of the business have been identified, it is necessary to clearly define how each of them will be accomplished. These plans should include the time and resources required for each goal. There are three major components to a plan and they’re all interdependent. They’re time, resources and features. Time indicates the projected date that the goal will be reached. Resources are the things that are needed to reach goals including money and people’s time. And features are the definition of what is to be accomplished. For example a goal may be to earn 10 new customers in a specified geographic area within 12 weeks. Any of these can be adjusted in order to find the correct mix. The features (size of geographic area, number of customers) can be reduced in order to make the goal achievable. Time (number of weeks) to accomplish the goal can be increased or decreased. Resources (people, money) can be increased or decreased. In other words plans can be made more aggressive or scaled back depending on the circumstances. When multiple goals are being pursued simultaneously there can be competition for resources that will impact the planning process. Creating an integrated plan that allows all goals to be accomplished without resource conflicts is the key to bringing a company’s vision to fruition.
Plan to Re-Plan
It has been said that the only constant in life is change. A business plan is not permanent and should be updated on an ongoing basis. As time goes on circumstances change and plans are impacted. The frequency of revising plans is something that varies from business to business. Time, availability and impact of change can affect this decision. The need for revision should be evaluated at least every quarter. It is also a good practice to develop a detailed plan at the start of each quarter that projects one year into the future. The key point is that business plans are never static. They must be revised and kept current. Well thought out business plans allow for accomplishing objectives the most efficient and effective way possible.