How to write a business plan
WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN? HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
A good business plan takes time, planning and research to put together, and is essential to the success of any business. The resources you initially invest into creating a strong plan will save you time and effort in the long run.
A well-written plan should help you focus on the priorities for your business. It clearly defines your business goals, the reasons you think you are going to achieve them, the strategies you will implement to reach them, and opportunities for growth.
It helps chart your business’ journey over the coming years, to get to where you want to be from where you currently are.
BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Many business owners wonder how to write the perfect business plan, but the truth is each business will have its own unique plan.
Writing your business plan doesn’t need to be an onerous task added to your to-do list. A one-page template such as this one can be a helpful tool to provide some direction. Make sure that you focus on areas of the plan that relate specifically to your business. Templates will differ, but the basic approach is the same for all business plans.
Here are the steps you can take to create a values-based business plan for success:
Start with the soul. Outline the core values and beliefs of the business, as this is what makes you unique – not just in the industry, but as an organisation itself.
Know your market. Conduct an extensive and exhaustive Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, and then identify your top three in each area.
Define the heart. Many organisations can describe what they do in terms of their products, their industry, and their competitors. They can also tell you how they do it, with their key differentiators, their value proposition and their values. But it is the truly great organisations that can tell you their why – their purpose, and reason for being. This is the heart of your business.
Set your milestones. This is where you want the business to be in 3-5 years. Outlining these milestones helps set long-term targets to work towards.
Chart your growth. Knowing your long-term targets should allow you to set your short-term goals – what will you achieve at the end of a year? Some of these actions to improve profitability can be helpful.
Narrow it down. Set even more concise plans to put into motion for each quarter – each of which will be working towards the next goal on the plan.
Celebrate the successes. As incentive, set out the rewards that team members (and even yourself) can be given for completion of each target – these can be quarterly or annually.
Be accountable. Set KPIs for the business and assign priorities. Give everyone the onus of responsibility so that they all feel like they are contributing to the bigger picture.
Business plans should not be set in stone. They need to be fluid and adaptable to change – either in the market, or within your business. Definite statements about your company and the overall organisation of your business are things that can be concrete. However, it is important to always adapt in order to achieve your goals.
WHY DO I NEED A BUSINESS PLAN?
You may be wondering, “Why should I create this plan in the first place? I know what my goals are and where I want the business to be.” But often, you’re not the only one who needs to know this.
A strong, one-page business plan allows you to perfectly articulate your goals to those around you and helps them to work with you towards your end destination. Having a roadmap helps a business perform effectively, with a clearly defined vision.
Another important advantage of having a comprehensive and considered business plan in place is that it may help you obtain finance when you are looking to expand and need interest from investors.
GET HELP TO SIMPLIFY THE PROCESS
Your business plan is one of the most important documents you will create, and therefore can benefit from objective expertise. A Business Advisor can help guide you in developing the vision for your successful business and strategies to implement it. We simplify the process, so your business plan is an accurate representation of your business now, and where you want it to be.
Take the first step towards scaling your business the right way, today. Speak to our experienced business advisors and let us help you with the right planning and strategy for your business to thrive.
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