One of the most helpful tools in business is a Business Plan.
Many business owners/ managers do not know how to create a Business Plan. It is a mystery to some. It does not need to be difficult. There are many one-page business plans on the internet as a format to start the plan. Use an easy format for the best first step. More can always be added to a business plan, once it has been created.
Keep the Business Plan Current
The business plan can be added to every year, as information is developed. Your business plan is an important tool for running a business, for making important decisions and for transitions, like borrowing funds, selling the business, or transitioning the business from one generation to another.
A business plan is not a difficult process. It is an on-going process, completed annually.
The business plan should include:
- An executive summary
- Description of your product or services
- Your competitors’ information
- SWOT analysis
- Your market share
- Marketing data
- Key financial indicators for several years
- The company history
The more in-depth the information, the better. Some of the business plan templets tell you what to include under each heading. If you complete half of what is listed above, you’ll be ahead of many of your competitors.
Delegate the Data
I did not realize the benefits of a Business Plan until I completed one for my medium sized business. I delegated much of the components to key executives.
This helped me to realize their ability to think through the process of planning for this year and for the future years. The Business Plan became one of the critical components in developing our Strategic Plan. The plan helped us to clarify who our competitors were, what our strengths and weaknesses were and what we wanted to accomplish in market share, financial outcomes and organization chart issues.
The Business Plan helped us when we decided to sell the business. Everything the broker needed to know about us was in the Plan. As a result, we obtained a fairly high multiple for the business.
Photo by DTKeesee
Like the incredible plant in this picture, a plan gives us an idea of what needs to happen to create our vision.