While you don’t need a business plan to start or run your business, having at least a rudimentary plan can keep you organized and help you focus on whatever business goals you’ve got.
That being said, you don’t have to write a 100-page business plan! In fact, I’m in favor of the one page business plan. The simpler you make it, the easier it will be to create and follow.
Tip #1: Focus on the High Level
Your business plan doesn’t have to answer all the questions you’ve got about running your business. It should, instead, focus on strategy and high-level ideas. What do you sell? Who are your customers? What are the marketing channels you’ll use to reach them?
Details are for projects and tasks. The plan focuses on your company’s mssion and goals.
Tip #2: Review It Regularly
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a business owner goes to great lengths to draft the perfect business plan. Then he leaves it as a file on his computer, or shoves it in a drawer, never to be looked at again.
You’re just wasting your time if you create your business plan and then ignore it! Make it a calender item: every quarter or year, review your plan and ensure you’re still on track to achieving those goals.
Tip #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Change It
Your business plan isn’t carved in stone (I hope), so consider it an ever-changing entity. When you review it, if you’ve shifted company goals away from what you originally drafted in the plan, change the plan. Your business plan should grow and adapt with your business.
Your business plan should serve to guide you to years of success in your business. Use it as a tool, not a crutch, to achieving your goals. Get the input of your staff and colleagues to get multiple viewpoints on where your company is headed.
And if you want more great advice on business plans, please attend our free webinar, “The Secrets to Writing a Good Business Plan” on March 5, 2014, 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.
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