If you’ve sought funding for your business, the chances are you’ve already completed a business plan, but there are many reasons why you should have a plan for your business, regardless of the size of your business, or the stage it’s at.
Clarity of Strategy
So many business owners are so busy working IN their business that they neglect to spend any time working ON their business – whilst the day to day jobs are what keeps your business ticking over, they aren’t going to help your business grow, or progress to the next level
Completion of a business plan forces business owners to document where they see their enterprise in the short, medium and long term, and to consider the resources required to meet that strategy.
Do you know what your businesses key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are?
- Carrying out a SWOT analysis will help business owners to identify the areas of their business that need a bit of work, for example training or customer service, as well as the areas that should be emphasised, like dedicated staff or an excellent product.
- Spending some time identifying the opportunities that are available to your business can have a significant payoff, whilst putting a simple plan in place to deal with threats eliminates the fear of the unknown, which can cause many small business owners significant stress.
Encourages Good Practice
How well organised is your business – do you find you are firefighting all the time, or constantly ignoring that niggle about something you see as ancillary to your business, for example, your bookkeeping?
Completing a business plan is a way of identifying all the “extra” jobs that need to be done, helps business owners to understand why they need to be done (or reminds them!) and provides that little extra bit of motivation to get them over the line.
Not that you want to get bogged down in the minutiae of running a business, but if you do a good job of taking care of the little things, the big things will come easier to you!
Motivation for Business Owners
I often say that running your own business can make you complacent – with no boss standing over you, things can get put on the long finger for a bit too long.
It can be hard to give yourself a shake at times!
Firstly, taking the time to write a business plan is a way of getting all those hopes and dreams you have for your business out of your head – it’s like a conversation. Simply writing it down might make you realise how ridiculous your idea is, or it might be the first step to achieving it.
Your completed business plan will then provide an additional impetus to go on and make it happen. It gives you a standard to measure yourself against in one, three, maybe five years time.
It can take the place of your demanding boss!
Big organisations define their mission statements and their values as a way of defining their business.
Although business owners mightn’t want to share their business plans (particularly the financial element), a condensed version can be derived for provision to stakeholders, such as employees and service providers.
This will help others to understand the key goals of the business, the personality of the business and will ensure that the service they provide is in line with the requirements of the business – it keeps everyone on the same page, so to speak.
There are lots of other reasons for preparing a business plan – as eluded to in the beginning of this post, a business plan will be required in the event that funding is sought. Also if you have a great idea and are thinking about setting up on your own, a business plan will force you to consider all aspects of the business – and perhaps the questions you’ve been able to avoid answering in your own mind to date.
I hope this has been useful – if you would like assistance with preparing your business plan, feel free to get in touch!