In other articles on my blog, I have described why any small business must have a business plan.
I have also explained the SMART Business Planning formula where you follow 5 simple steps to write your own actionable business plan.
However this week I wanted to talk about what goes into your business plan document.
In this week’s video training, I wanted to complete the picture by giving you a list of the minimum contents of your business plan formatted for you, as a small business owner, to follow and implement.
Watch the video to learn about what goes into your business plan, and then if you have any questions, get over to the blog page and put your questions in the comments section below.
It is most important to understand that the order of the contents in your business plan document is not the order in which you work on the thinking behind your business planning, the process in which you think about your vision and your current state, and how you bridge that gap.
This is the downfall of static business planning tools such as business plan templates that you buy or download from the web. These templates and blank forms are provided to you in the order in which they should appear in your business plan document. But if you tried to fill them in, and think about what you should do, in the order in which they are presented, you are going to find it impossible – because you haven’t been through the proper thought process!
To be clear, when you think about what you need to do to plan for your success, you need to follow the logic in this process:
- Define where you want to go, including all the quantitative indicators of what success means in key areas of your business;
- Then, leaving the desired future to one side, ask yourself questions that honestly understand your current position;
- Understanding where you are now and where you want to go, you can identify those key areas you need to improve on to get to where you want to go and then write your goals and objectives, quantifying targets;
- With goals or key improvements established, you write strategies on how you will work on achieving those goals;
- Then you decide on measurements and milestones for each strategy and write step-by-step action plans to implement them.
As you can see, the logic draws out what you need to do.
On the other hand, the business plan document has a different purpose.
You have already thought of what you have to do – the document reminds you of the steps you need to implement.
So the business plan document sets the parameters of your thinking (so that you don’t lose focus along the way), reminds you of the vision and what it means (as the flagpost you are aiming toward), sets out the goals and objectives (again to maintain focus on priorities) and then lists the strategies and finally the action plans.
In this way, the document leads you into your prioritised big-picture “to-do” list.
If you want to make a start, you can download my free Business Planning Checklist here.
The checklist is organised into the different phases of business planning, and each phase contains the tasks to tick off as you prepare your own business plan.
But now the fun really starts – please, write your comments or questions in the comments section below and I’ll respond to every comment and question.
See you there!