Business Plans for Small Businesses

[ 0 ] April 30, 2014 |

Pointers On Business Plans For Small Businesses

It is a common misconception amongst small business owners that business plans are only relevant for large companies or for obtaining finance.  People often think that they are a waste of valuable time for a smaller business.

This couldn’t be further from the truth – every business, large or small, old or new, needs a business plan if they intend to be successful.

Why is a business plan useful?

Sometimes you will be asked for a business plan by the bank or an investor for example if you are trying to obtain finance or a loan but the business planning process can be an invaluable internal tool for your business as well.

Your plan should give a clear picture of your business, give focus and direction to you and your staff and give you the structure you need to achieve your goals.  In addition to this, once your business plan is written you should have a clear picture of your market place, target customers, brand etc which will make planning your marketing strategy much easier.

Overall Structure

A business plan should firstly involve some analysis on internal factors (products, procedures, staff, current performance etc) and external factors (economy, market place, changes in law or technology etc) that affect your business.

Next you need to think about what you want to achieve with your business.  This can vary as some people are keen to make their first million but others just want to have a comfortable, enjoyable lifestyle and enjoy their work.  Either way, you should have some definite goals and put steps in place to measure your progress.

The final step is to plan the strategies and methods that will allow you to achieve your goals.

Think of it in terms of a journey – the analysis is your starting place (A), your goal is your final destination (B) and the strategic planning section is the road map that will allow you to get from A to B in the most effective and efficient way.

Outsourcing

The business planning process can be very rewarding and enjoyable but can also be time consuming.  If you feel that you don’t have the time to do it properly or feel that you are too immersed in your business on a day to day basis, working with a business consultant is a good option.  Spartan Consultants works with a variety of clients in this capacity and our involvement can be anything from a bit of guidance and advice through to writing the plan on a client’s behalf.

If you choose to work with a business consultant, make sure you are fully involved in the planning process and you understand the finished plan.  Otherwise, you are Business Planning for Small Businessesvery unlikely to stick with it and it will end up being filed away, never to be looked at again – a waste of your time and money!

Finally

One of the biggest mistakes people make with a business plan is to ignore it.  It should be measurable and used as a working document.  You should establish a reporting procedure to check progress against your targets and review it on an ongoing basis.  Business plans need to be flexible to a certain extent because sometimes changes will happen outside of your control such as a sudden change to the economy or maybe your biggest client suddenly goes bust.  If you’ve done the analysis part correctly, you should be aware of most potential blips but occasionally something happens that you won’t see coming.

At the end of the day, not having a business plan is like starting out on a car journey without a destination or a route in mind.  You may enjoy a nice drive but won’t achieve anything.  In the worst case scenario, you may get lost and run out of petrol, miles from anywhere!

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