Planning for your business? Here are the five essentials you need to remember – and do.
We recently spent quite a bit of time planning the redesign of our website, and also planning some exciting new content for our blog. As you might have guessed, it started us thinking about the importance of planning when it comes to business, and about how planning is sometimes overlooked when it comes to making the most of new ideas and opportunities.
So with that in mind, our first post is a vital reminder of the five most important things to remember – and do – when it comes to planning for your business.
1) Decide what your business is trying to achieve
Whether your business was created to manufacture a product, deliver a service or anything else, the chances are that you already have at least some idea of what its goals and objectives are – even if you haven’t written them down on paper.
However, before you can successfully plan for your business, it’s vital to clearly define what you are trying to achieve. You can’t reach a goal or hit a target if that goal or target doesn’t actually exist!
2) Create a business plan
A business plan is a written document that ultimately describes what your business does, what it is trying to achieve, and the marketplace it is operating in. It should include descriptions of your products and services, an analysis of your competitors, information about your team and their skills, details of your sales and marketing strategies, and financial forecasts.
A good business plan ultimately acts as ‘roadmap’ of where a business is headed. What’s more, a business plan can be especially useful in helping you spot problems before they happen, getting your head around the financial aspects of your business, and even in helping you measure and track your successes.
3) Remember that there will be more people interested in your business plan than you think
Even though a business plan can be a useful internal tool, you need to be prepared to show it to a wide range of people outside of your business, which means it needs to be as focused and as comprehensive as possible.
For example, if you’re planning to borrow money from your bank, your bank’s account manager will need to see it as part of his or her decision making process. Similarly, external investors such as venture capitalists, business angels, or funding and grant organisations will want to see it before they commit to supporting your business financially.
And finally, anyone who may want to buy your business or become a partner will also need access to your business plan before any decisions are made.
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Running or managing a business can be tough – and even something as fundamental as business planning can often seem like yet another task.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask for help from someone who is experienced in business if you’re not sure about something. It could be a friend or family member who has their own business, or someone who can offer independent business advice and who might be able to point out any mistakes you are making with your planning before it’s too late.
5) Keep your business plan alive!
A good business plan is a living, breathing document. By that we mean it should be continually updated so it evolves with your business and reflects any changes you make along the way.
It also means that you should regularly consult your business plan so that you can monitor the progress of your business, and stay on track when it comes to meeting your objectives.
But the biggest benefit to having a constantly changing, fully up-to-date business plan is that it can put you in a fantastic position when it comes to funding and business development opportunities.
You can find out more about business plans – and how to create one – on the Business Link website.
Or, if you need specific help on any aspect of planning for your business, or advice on getting your business plan in front of the right people, get in touch now and take advantage of our experience.