How to Create a Stellar Business Plan

by Catherine Monson

daily

Business planning is a hot topic as the year-end comes to a close. Smart entrepreneurs and leaders in companies know that business planning is a critical part of achieving goals. Regardless of your venture, a solid business plan presents the opportunity to outline goals and key objectives, as well as the tactics needed to accomplish the desired results.

Put it in Writing

The key to a successful business plan starts with putting it in writing. Whether you are a startup or an existing business owner with years of experience under your belt, a well-documented business plan sets the foundation. By creating a written roadmap for your business in a business plan, you have a clear path to accountability and future success. Involving key team members in establishing the plan provides you with multiple viewpoints and helps to ensure their future “buy in” of the plan.  Once established, track and benchmark your progress throughout the year. 

Create the Strategy

Determine your key objectives for your business and find out how to outline your goals. Spend some time not only reviewing your past goals and results, but also determining where you want to go in the future. What did you do well and what still needs improvement?  Will your sales growth come from new products and services or getting existing customers to buy more?  Look at how trends impact your business, whether seasonal or industry-related.  Do a “SWOT” analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Study your financials and determine where you are making or losing money.  Determine what investments are needed for the future. Outline your plans to hire and train team members. Document your plan for creating or improving your brand identity and executing your marketing programs.  Do all of this while prioritizing the essential components of your business plan based on your long term and short term goals (what you want or need to achieve in the next 12 months).

Keep Your Plan Succinct

The process of creating a business plan can be tedious, but keep it simple by including just the right information for your business, which means having enough information to allow for proper execution and measurement. Consider using graphs, charts and images to bring your ideas to life. 

Review Your Plan Often

A business plan allows you to stay on track and get where you want to go.  A business plan is not something you create in a day, nor is it something that you prepare and then put on the shelf.  Review it monthly, modify as needed, communicate to your team and celebrate successes.

Successful business leaders “plan their work and work their plan” and know where they are going; this is one of the 5 common characteristics of successful people.

What are your business planning tips? Share them with us by tweeting @FASTSIGNS.


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