9 Keys to a Better Business Plan
The year 2020 showed everyone how volatile the business landscape can be. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the world in a snap. Economies and businesses of all shapes and sizes were caught off-guard. This gave rise to a renewed appreciation for better business planning.
With limited resources available, small businesses are less resistant to shocks and need better business plans to keep them afloat. To help you create a fool-proof plan, here are essential tips for better business planning:
Have a well-researched framework
A good business plan begins with a background containing two parts: an external one elaborating on the state of the industry where your business belongs and information on your target audience and your competitors. The internal one focuses on your company’s organizational structure, financial reports, and other relevant information that will enable you to understand how your business is currently performing.
This is where the importance of research and data kicks in. Using data to drive your framework provides you with a reliable foundation for your business plan.
Understand your business goals
Once you gain a better understanding of your business, you should be able to identify the needs of the company. More importantly, it should set a direction for your business. These goals must also be clearly defined to increase its feasibility within a given time.
Set realistic deadlines
Coming up with a timeline that plots your deadlines for specific goals and issues to be addressed significantly helps to keep your business plan on track. Deadlines should always be consistent with your business goals. Be sure to properly gauge and estimate the number of weeks or months assigned to meet your objectives.
Create feasible strategies
Keep in mind that a great business strategy bridges the gap between reality and the target you have in mind (in this case, your entrepreneurial goals). Creating feasible strategies appear frequently in the advice and tips provided by experts in creating better business plans. Strategies should take into account your current resources, projected gains, and other means that will help you attain your goals, as well as your vulnerabilities towards achieving your goal.
Pursuing these goals means discussing operations with your key stakeholders, partners, and implementing staff for accurate, experience-based knowledge. You can use these pertinent data to your advantage by plotting them out strategically in your chosen approach
Make plans within your means
Your detailed strategy should go hand-in-hand with the assets that your company owns. While a little room for imagination is allowed every now and then (especially for visualizing your company’s future), it’s always important to weave your ideas with your available resources such as your business capital, manpower, and existing facilities.
Keep in mind the risks
One key tip in better business planning is to always consider the risks in every step of your plan. You can plan everything but you can never be completely ready for what lies ahead. This is the main reason why you must put into consideration potential business problems and devise solutions ahead of time. Assess your vulnerabilities and make sure to do everything you can in order to minimize your business risks.
Conduct regular assessments of your plan
Just like a growing business, you should treat your strategy as something dynamic and flexible. It should be subject to review and be adaptive to the changes that may come along the way. This is especially the case when you have to cope with unforeseen shocks that may affect your business.
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Make your plan cohesive.
Your business plan should not be over 50 pages. A good business plan should be cohesive to keep stakeholders and all the members of your organization are focused on the goals of the business and the role that they are going to play.
One way to create a cohesive business plan is to ground all of its details towards achieving your goals and minimizing details that are not in line with your goals or your strategies. This way, your business plan is committed to a specific outcome and everything else that is not relevant is kept out of focus.
Follow through with implementation.
Finally, walk the talk—the success of your business plan can only be measured by the degree to which it has been properly put into action. As such, you need to make serious efforts to ensure the strict implementation of your business plans. Never forget to follow up and consistently monitor strategies and projects.
You should be able to work around your business plan from these points to ensure that much-needed surge in your annual profits. The question now is, are you ready to revamp your business plan?
This article was first published 22 January 2015 and edited 16 January 2021.