Writing a Business Plan is one thing but coming up with one that works is something completely different. We see many Business Owners complete a plan, but then put it in their cabinets and never take it out again. They don’t execute their plans that they made at the beginning of the year. They don’t get things happening, things they decided to implement.
Here are 7 Tips for you to make sure you write a Business Plan that actually works:
#1 Set time aside
If you’re like most business owners I know, you are bogged down in your business doing the day-to-day operational activity – and that’s okay. Your Daily tasks must be completed. But at some stage, you’ve got to put time aside to work ON your business, rather than IN your business.
A great suggestion is to grab your diary and you block out some time every single 90-day period where you can sit down and start strategizing about the next 90 days. You should be spending at least one or two days a year setting time aside to be able to then plan what the entire year looks like, and then you’ll be able to review as you go each 90-day period.
But without setting time aside, it’s not going to happen.
#2 Give your plan the reality check
Sometimes when you create a plan you’ll overestimate what you can do in a given time frame. We get very optimistic as entrepreneurs about what it is that you can achieve, and, unfortunately, sometimes you’re setting yourself up for failure.
It is important to take your plan and share it with someone you know. It could be your Business Partner, your Coach or Mentor, your life partner or just a friend. It is best to get them to check your plan and make sure that you give it a good reality check. Are the things that you put into that plan achievable? Are they realistic? And that you going to be able to make those things happen?
#3 Focus on your winners and stop your losers
You’ve probably heard this saying: “winners never quit, and quitters never win” – well, I don’t believe that’s true in business.
If you’ve got something that you’re doing in your business that’s not working, the best thing you can do is stop it. If you’re selling a product or a service that nobody wants to buy, or maybe you’re doing some marketing and it’s not turning into customers for you, then just stop it. Stop doing the things that aren’t working and work and focus on the things that are working for you.
Focus on selling more of your higher margin goods. Focus on doing the marketing that works well for you. Focus on the activities that you enjoy doing that also create the income or the revenue streams that you want to create.
#4 Get others involved
When it comes to creating a business plan, rather than trying to do it on your own, get your accountant involved, get your coach involved, get your partners involved. Maybe you have friends with businesses that you can talk to about what you should and shouldn’t have in your plan. There are all sorts of resources online and of course, you can download the free template that I have put together for Business Owners that is super easy to use. It’s free business plan template that’ll help you know exactly what you need and assist you with what strategies and information you need to add to your Business Plan. Nothing great was ever achieved alone.
#5 Compare your budget to actuals
This tip actually scares a lot of people – numbers!
It’s really important that your plan includes a budget and most importantly – you need to be budgeting for profit. You need to be budgeting for sales. And you need to be budgeting for expenses.
Now, most business owners feel that unless they have an accounting mindset, or you love numbers, it’s not going to work. My tip here would be to get your bookkeeper or accountant involved. You need to have a budget that you can check every month and one that shows your actuals against your budget. This will show you how profitable you were and what sales you made. Without budgeting, it’s going to be impossible for you to keep track of whether or not you’re achieving your financial goals in your business.
#6 Set KPI’s
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and it is a way for you to measure your progress no matter what you’re doing in life. As you grow your business, it’s important that you track your progress. It could be simple things like sales or number of customers. It could also be more complex things like the number of sick days that your team members have on average. It is up to you as a business owner to decide what is important for your business and what you need to track. Set some KPIs that make sense to you so that you can look at your results and look at your plan and work out what you need to do to get moving and stay ahead of profitability.
#7 Don’t bite off more than you can chew
I see many entrepreneurs that have that shiny light syndrome. They are like a moth to a shiny light and will fly to everything that is glowing and trendy. They’re trying to do too many things.
I love the acronym of F.O.C.U.S. The word F.O.C.U.S. Follow One Course Until Successful.
If your current business model isn’t working, it’s no good trying to adapt other business models or import other products or provide other services or go into different markets.
Make sure you do what you do well before you start to branch out into other things. Make sure you focus on your core business well before you start working on other things.
If you apply some of these tips when writing your plan, you will have one that truly works for your business.
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