At whatever stage, the key to a successful business is a well-written business plan. It’s a simple document that articulates your goals and the step-by-step process of how to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or growing an established business because you’ll still need a plan so that you’re not just taking action blindly.
Why you need a business plan
No matter how good of an entrepreneur you are, a business plan will always be handy. It gives a structure to your goals and makes it easier to get the rest of your team members on the same page. It’s also a way for you to think your decisions through, because you’re forced to back them with research and achievable targets.
For start-ups, a business plan will be your foundations to likely avoid a failing venture. You’ll be building the identity of your business and how it’ll come alive. That way, you’ll see if your business is truly viable and prosperous in the long run.
Scale-ups or established businesses, on the other hand, should also rework their business plans as their goals change. Whether you’re searching for more funding, finding answers to how to increase profit, or trying out a new growth strategy, you’ll need a detailed plan before fully implementing anything. It’ll help ensure that you’re primed and ready every step of the way.
Even in cases where you’re planning to leave your business to someone else, having an exit strategy business plan can help. You’ll need a thriving business to attract investors or buyers to sell your business to. With a plan to increase your business’s worth and provide continuity to its life, you can get the most value out of your exit.
As you can probably gather already, a business plan offers you a clear direction and guide to follow. This offers the same for your team leaders and members. If they have a business plan to always refer back to, you’re assured that they have the same vision as you do.
Furthermore, a business plan keeps you moving forward. It determines the various milestones you need to meet along the way. As a result, you’ll also instantly know what you need to monitor and move towards once you’re in the implementation stage.
Who writes the business plan?
It’s best to have the business owner involved in creating the business plan. They’ve been with the business since the very beginning and, at its very core, understand what it stands for. However, they’re not the only person that could write the business plan.
Other key leaders, such as the rest of the Board, could also be involved in this process. They have other areas of expertise that could offer a better perspective on decision-making. For example, a business plan focused on marketing growth strategies could benefit from the insights of a Marketing Director.
If you don’t have a certain expert on your team yet or would like an experienced professional’s opinion, you could look into outsourcing one. Boardroom Advisors has several Fractional Directors who can help plan your marketing, finances, and operations strategically.
Creating the business plan
Do the necessary review and research
Before writing anything, you need a clear strategic direction first. Knowing where you want to go will help you determine what your business plan needs to contain. At the same time, you’ll have an idea of what parts need to be highlighted and focused on more.
Conducting a strategic review and doing your research will give you perspective on how your business should move forward. This will involve doing internal research, using strategy analysis tools, and brainstorming with experts to outline what the business can do to improve.
Lay out the basics
Once you’ve settled on what your business plan is for, it’s time to write it out. Start with the basics because it’s good to introduce or reiterate who you are. This will allow you and your team members to fully comprehend the business’s mission and vision before planning anything else.
You’ll also need to talk about your products and services as well as how they fit into the market. After all, your products and services have to offer something valuable and will need to be meeting some need to someone. Thus, thorough customer research and competitive analysis may be required.
Get specific on the important details
After doing the research and summarising the basics, the major body of your business plan is the operational procedures you’ll execute.
How will you achieve what you’ve set out to do? What are the actions you should take to get closer to your end goal?
The key here is to be as specific as possible. You can use MOST Analysis to help with this. Enumerate smaller, manageable objectives for your overarching goals, and then detail the strategies and tactics to achieve them.
Depending on your business’s specific needs, you have to make sure to include all the important and relevant information. If you have a start-up business that’s getting ready to scale up, you’ll most likely need to raise funding. It’ll be good to dedicate a section to your financial performance, the amount of capital needed, and how you plan to use the money.
On the other hand, if you’re more focused on growing an existing business, you may need to put more time into your growth strategy. Aside from in-depth research and data, you should also include a strong implementation plan. Give more context on the different leaders and staff involved and their respective responsibilities.
Implementing the business plan
When you have your business plan ready, implementing it will be a whole different challenge. More people should be in charge of helping you implement it as well as in the planning stages. Hence, communicating the contents of your business plan is important.
During implementation, continuously monitor your performance and review your plan. At some point, you may need to modify your business plan. If needed, don’t be afraid to do so and consult business experts such as those from Boardroom Advisors.