Top tips for writing a business plan
It’s that time of year – spring is in the air (well, it is today!) and the promise of warmer days might not be some big myth, it’s when I start to look forward and plot and plan for what my business will do this year. I know a lot of people do this in January but frankly I am far too busy with tax returns to think about business planning but by ½ term I am feeling back in that place where I can plan ahead. So, my top five tips for writing a business plan are:
Who are you writing the plan for? Knowing who ill be reading the plan will help you decide what you need to include. If it is just for you then a sheet of A4 will probably be OK, if you are after investment then something a bit more involved and detailed will be needed.
What are you trying to achieve? Are you wanting to plot out where you see yourself in 5 years time and the journey that you will be taking to get there? Are you looking to raise finance? Are you looking to expand and take on more staff?
Why are you doing this? Is it because someone told you that you should have one? In that case, why? Is it really of use and benefit to you? Planning is always good but a formal business plan isn’t always necessary. If you are wanting a loan from the bank and they want a business plan, then that is you why.
When has two parts to it ... when do you need to have it done by? This is your deadline and you need to stick to it. The other part is when will you review it.
Lastly, it’s the “how” question – how will you review it? How are you doing to look back and determine whether the planning was a worthwhile exercise? You need to know this now so that you know what metrics to include, this might be financial (business will grown by 30% over the next 3 years) or they might be softer (we will have expanded to 10 product lines from the 4 we have now). Knowing what your targets and metrics for assessing a plans success means that you will target you planning more effectively.