Keeping Your Business Plan Front Of Mind

June 1, 2017

Today we’ll look at tips for drafting your business plan and how to keep that plan front of mind.  Don’t fall into the trap that many of your competitors will of spending time and money developing a way forward for your business, only to have it sit and gather dust.

A well designed business plan changes as your business changes. Click To Tweet

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: You should always 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: You should be honest with yourself in your business plan, which is why it’s important to consider challenges and opportunities. If you’ve got a strong idea, let it stand on its merit.
  • Show you’re conservative: Everyone says they’re “conservative” in their business plans, but most aren’t. You should be. 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. You can use templates, but don’t look identical to a template. 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

Let’s jump forward.  You’re the proud owner of your roadmap to success, how to make sure your plan turns into reality?  Like many planning documents you’ll do for your business, turning them into actions is often the challenge.  Here’s a few ideas how to keep your business plan front of mind:

  • Turn your 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 and 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 just as useful is 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 succeeding in business … or not!  If you can, look at some examples of business plans in your industry (though I’d suggest you draft your plan before you look at examples – let your own visions develop first).

Good luck!

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