Creating your business plan
Your business plan should be clear and provide a roadmap for your company. Without a plan, you’ll find it more difficult to communicate your vision and see a path to growth.
Here are five tips I’ve found useful when preparing business plans, both for this business and when helping clients:
- Get rid of the fluff: Be as concise as possible and remove any filler language. Even if it sounds nice, fluff gets you nowhere and wastes space. Investors, team members and those you collaborate with don’t want to read a long business plan. Get to the point quickly.
- Be realistic: Be honest with yourself in your business plan; consider challenges and opportunities. If you’ve got a strong idea, let it stand on its merit.
- Show you’re conservative: Use examples to demonstrate that you’re conservative in your approach and projections.
- Visuals are good: Whenever possible, and without overdoing it, use visuals in your business plan. Graphs, charts, and images can help bring your concept to life. It breaks up the text and helps a plan flow better and for many, creating visuals helps the thought process.
- Be creative: Include a creative element in your business plan so you stand out and grab someone’s attention. Do something unique to make the plan yours.
Done correctly, your business plan will help overcome and identify any weakness or adversity. It will assist you in identifying your market and meeting those requirements. The plan will be necessary in applying for investment or mentor advise and ultimately, should you decide, will help to sell your successful business.
Front of mind
Now that you’re the proud owner of your roadmap to success, how do you turn your plan into reality? Here’s a few ideas how to keep your business plan front of mind:
- Turn the goals and initiatives from your plan into actions. Grab your highlighter and identify what needs to happen. Turn this into a to-do list with priorities that you can allocate to your team.
- Use a project management system (Trello, Asana, Basecamp etc.) to share information and collaborate with your team on the actions needed. Don’t forget to include milestones!
- Pop a regular event in your calendar to review your plan. I suggest you review your plan at least quarterly though it’s just as useful to stagger reviews (particularly if you’re time poor). For example month 1 – competitive analysis, month 2 – market research… you get the picture!
That’s it. No plan is perfect but a good plan can be the difference between success and failure in business!
Good luck! And be sure to download your free guide here to learn more about how you can make your best business plan work.