Coming out of a corporate environment, we often see the business plan as a heavy document that sits in the corner and bears no reflections what happens on a day-to-day basis. With the world changing so rapidly, the concept of the business plan seems so last century.
Most of us appreciate that, with a plan, there’s a direct route to the desired destination. Yet for many of us, we stumble at taking the time to create one. There’s a number of reasons why this would happen. It might be because of the plans we’ve created before didn’t work out. We might not know what to exactly include in it… or maybe we simply don’t even know where to start.
It’s as important to Small Businesses as in Big Companies
I remember years ago working for a major pharmaceutical company as the budget account. My role was to ensure that each quarter, the forecast was updated and that the plan was wrapped up and forwarded to the head office in the UK. Working with five divisional general managers and the CEO was an important role in that organisation. It was a role to keep each division accountable on a quarterly basis to the plans that they had established. In doing so, ensure that the organisation was navigating around different threats and challenges that would come up from time to time.
We get stuck without a Plan
Working with Erol (not his real name), I could see much of the skepticism about business planning that I hear from many small business owners. These same owners stay busy working tirelessly supporting their clients excellently, working 60-70+ hours a week but not growing the business. It was time for Erol to get off that way of life. It was time to stop being tied to just one client and to explore the opportunities that could help him create the business he’d always desired.
Upon completing his business plan, it was clear to Erol what he needed to take in. He finally stopped procrastinating and reconnected with prospective clients he knew had appropriate projects on.
Within the first month, he’s already been invited under a selective tender arrangement to tender with one of the organisations and has been asked by another to put in a private submission.
For Erol, the solution was simple. He always knew what he needed to do. Without a plan, he continued to be distracted by what was in front of him, the apparently urgent rather than the things he needed to do to get on with building his business. He got caught up in the day today rather than looking for opportunities to grow his business. With a focus on moving forward, it was easy for Erol to identify opportunities and progress.
5 Simple Steps to take when creating a Business Plan
The business plan need not be so daunting. It’s a matter of simple steps taken one over time. We work with clients going through each step, one thing at a time to help them create a working business plan that is practical and achievable, with clear milestones and the establishment of scorecard to help them maintain their business whilst also seeking growth. Each month is made up of the attainment of the scorecard, plus one key milestone. And at the end of 12 months, you’ll have the business that you’ve identified.
Step 1: Taking stock
This is a realistic assessment of where you are and where you want to be in terms of your business, your leadership and your personal development for yourself and your entire team. This process is about identifying where you need help in, identifying the gaps so that throughout the course of the next year, you can strategically close them whilst maintaining the current business you have. In doing so, you’ll be building the business you’ve always wanted.
Step 2: Marketing Plan
In step one is identify the sales you want throughout this year. Identifying the sales you desire is just the first step… that makes it no more real than dreaming of a new client. It’s time to now create a marketing plan that will attract the prospects you need to make this a reality.
From a deeper understanding of who you’re trying to work with, and what makes you stand out, to appreciating the channels from where your clients can come, and what investment you need to ensure the right number do.
Step 3: The Operations Plan
This is about process, plant and people.
This is about identifying the processes you need to build to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your business throughout the course of the year. It is important to resist the urge to try to fix everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time. Remember you’ve already got a business which already is going well. This is as much about the timing of improvement to ensure you maintain your business and ensure you grow.
Plant is about the purchase of systems and equipment that will improve productivity in your business. It’s also identifying the proper timing when to purchase these.
People is about the culture that will drive your business and new hires. The timing of hires to fit in with capacity and ensure your business continues to operate profitably throughout the year.
Step 4: The Financial Plan
The financial plan is built up by documenting all of the above in a timeline throughout the year and identifying the costs and revenue associated. From there, it’s about understanding the difference in timing of cash flow and an appreciation of the impact of purchasing of new equipment and assets that will keep your balance sheet.
The Financial Plan consists of:
- The Sales Plan
- The Staffing Plan
- The Expenditure – All of which will comprise for a profit and loss statement
- The Balance Sheet which includes
- Asset purchases and disposals
- A Cash Flow Statement
Step 5: Milestones and Scorecard
Milestones is the identification of one clear project each month that will deliver the business you desire at the conclusion of your year when you have worked according to this plan.
Scorecard is the establishment of core activities to maintain the business you desire in terms of:
- people and development
- and financials
Time to take action and move forward
Remember how for years, Erol had been carrying out his role serving his clients excellently. In fact, he was winning awards for the projects he was working on consistently. Yet he was maintaining the business and the role that he played. What he’d been doing was simply creating a consulting role for himself and not growing his business.
It wasn’t until Erol clearly decided what the next tipping point was that he was able to establish clear milestones that he could conquer one step at a time.
The creation of the simple, practical business plan ensured that he had direction and a path to navigate to his next milestone or tipping point and beyond. It provided him 12 simple steps to create the business he wanted, within that time span. And one that would be taking him on the path to the business he’s always desired.
You too can be like Erol, changing the pace of your business and fast tracking your success. Call us today or enroll here and let’s create a Business Plan that will get you to the next level.