In my 35 year career, I have only known a handful of small business owners who have prepared a business plan.
I find this astounding.
You would not leave the house to go shopping without some sort of plan – even if only in your head – about where you are going, where you would look to park the car, what you will wear with one eye on the weather, what you will buy, and how you will pay for it. Without this, how would you know whether to turn right or left at the end of your driveway?
Yet people start their businesses and run them for several years without thinking the journey through! Even worse, some people would read my example of the shopping trip and say “I’m just like that – I have it all in my head, that’s good enough.” Really? You are going to invest thousands and years into your business and you think it’s enough to have a thought kept in your head?
If you own an emerging business, relatively new, maybe 5 or 6 years old or so, and you are finding that you work hard every day but not seeming to get anywhere – if you find that for the last few years you have tried one idea before thinking of another and switching but not getting any co-ordinated growth forwards, how’s that undocumented “thought” working for you?
Once you discover how your own business plan, using your own knowledge of your business in a set, proven process, is easy to prepare – you will find order from your current day to day chaos.
A business plan will help you discover what are the real key drivers of your business growth.
You need a business plan because it sets a focused strategic direction so that you can measure every choice, investment, decision, and initiative by whether it will move you along that strategic direction.
A business plan sets out your long-term, medium-term and short-term strategies within the context of your ultimate direction. This means that it will help you stay focused and organised. You will be able to understand how short-term actions affect your business in the longer-term and make decisions accordingly.
The cascading strategies mean that you know at any time where you are against where you are meant to be. This allows you to know what resources and finance you need at any time, as well as when the best time is to enter into new initiatives that will move you forward. You will be prepared. With these strategies in place, you can then focus on the short-term strategies and create tactical action plans that break down what you have to do, into day by day priorities. Being this organised will remove frustration and confusion.
It really is a no-brainer. If you own a small business and you are struggling to create a sense of order and forward-movement from day to day chaos and indecision, you need a business plan!
If you want to know more, go to my website at teikoh.com and you will see the tools and ideas you can use to create great strategies. You can also learn about my process of preparing your own business plan in 5 stages within one day.
Let’s start the discussion – go over to my Facebook group Teik Oh Dot Com and let me know what your experiences are in preparing or using business plans. I’d be more than happy to help you with any questions on business planning that you have, and give you ideas on how to write great business plans.