Having a business plan has become, in many business owners’ mind, a roadway to success. They guard it as a very precious possession and many keep it locked up in a safe. It is pulled out, in many cases, when there is a need to convince investors that a business is heading in the right direction.
The reality is that the mere possession of a plan does not mean that what has been planned will actually occur. That plan that sits in your safe or on your shelf cannot predict the future.
So what is a business plan and what purpose does it serve? One of the first things we do when developing a Value Based Strategic Focus Plan is to concentrate on creating a Vision Statement. A Vision statement defines where management wants to take the company. The business plan then builds on the foundation (vision statement) and strategies and tactics are developed to achieve that vision.
Yes, we develop a business plan based upon the vision statement taking into consideration the current conditions, both internal and external, that will have an effect on the desired end result. The plan itself looks forward for a period of time, usually 2 to 3 years. Once completed, the plan has to be reviewed to compensate for changes that may occur as soon as a month after its completion.
The best way to monitor the effectiveness of a plan is to use it as a blueprint for growing your business. In other words, the plan sits on your desk and is the driving force in your business. The review process which should occur at least every six months. I recommend a mini review every three months to allow changes to be incorporated into the plan as needed.
Within the overall business plan there are mini plans which require accountability. The different parts of the plan, such as systems development, marketing, product and service development, customer relations, etc. all have a sub plan that has to be implemented in order for the overall vision to be reached.
The final stage of the business plan is to make sure that everyone in the firm is well versed as to the contents and overall vision.
If you haven’t looked or used your business plan in over six months, you don’t have a “living plan” and that usually means that the road you are traveling on may not be in tune with your vision.
It’s easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of our responsibilities.
Sir Josiah Stamp
Nick J. Petra CFP A business plan is a road map that tells you where your business is going and how it’s going to get there. Visit us at www.strategicduck.com and let us help you reach your vision.
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