I don’t have the time”, “I’ll get to it soon”, “No because I need the flexibility to be able to change my plan if I need”, are all common excuses I hear business owners using to justify why they don’t have a business plan.

If you are like the majority of small business owners, you’re running your business without a proper business plan and significantly reducing your chances of survival or success.

Many business owners make the creation of a business plan much harder than it actually is but here’s the bottom line, “In business, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

So, where to start in creating your business plan?

A good business plan sets out the goals and milestones for the business to achieve along with the strategies that will be used to achieve them.

It also documents the business’ 5 year vision, mission and core values. By going through this process, you find ways to work smarter instead of harder and uncover opportunities that you otherwise would have overlooked.

The critical first step is to set aside the uninterrupted time (3-4 hours) to review your business results over the last 1-2 years and then set 3-5 SMART goals for your next 12 months.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Focused and Timeframe bound which helps you to set effective goals.

Next, you complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) matrix and evaluate this in context of what your goals are.

You’re looking for the smartest way to use your strengths to capitalise on the opportunities available to you, to grow your strengths and mitigate the potential threats to your business.

You document your plan in writing and break it down into 90 day segments, revisiting your plan every 90 days to evaluate how you went, what you did best and what you can improve upon for the future.

The challenge with business planning is that it is a task that is important but not urgent.  That is, it is easy to put it off to tomorrow or next month and not see any immediate impact on your results. Successful people and business owners are the ones that consistently complete important tasks first, working proactively instead of reactively to create order and consistency within a business.

It’s never too late to start or to update your business plan.

If you’d like a template for a one page business plan or to discuss how we can help you take your business plan to the next level, drop us a line, we’d love to be of assistance.

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