Business Planning is a term a lot of business owner’s dread, which means it may only be completed half-hearted or not really at all.
A business plan doesn’t need to be a 600 page document, which takes months to put together. However, anyone who is looking to run a business or who runs a business needs to include business planning as part of their role.
One point to remember is that your business plan is not static, it changes as your business changes.
For those who are starting out the plan should be all about where the business is going, what niche the business is filling, how it will attract customers, manage cash flow and a raft of other issues. As this business matures, the plan needs to start including avenues for growth, staffing requirements, marketing and branding etc.
As the business continues to mature issues such as diversification need to be covered off. Even from the beginning, succession planning and an exit strategy is vital, do you sell your business or bring someone in to manage it, these need to be considered early as they may drive earlier strategies.
A vital part of any business plan is to make sure it includes realistic and measurable outcomes. All too often a business plan talks about objectives but there are no strategies or outcomes to measure success or failure. The other mistake is setting goals that are not realistic, either they are too easy to achieve or too hard. Expecting to settle $200million in loans in the first twelve months would not be achievable for many new entrants. Setting a target of $5million in the first 12 months may be too easy.
The important thing to remember is it is your plan, whether you are part of a larger group or a sole operator planning your business will only guarantee success. Over the coming months I will discuss various parts of business planning and talk to my experiences, the good and the bad.