And then, once past the startup phase, never looked at it again.
That’s really a shame because ignoring your business plan can seriously hold back your business growth and development. Here’s why:
Your business plan is a living document, intended to be reviewed and revised regularly. It needs to reflect the current goals and status of your business.
Your competitors, marketing strategies, goals, and stage of business development have all changed.
You need an updated plan to stay in the game.
When to review your business plan:
- A rival has moved into your territory seeking your ideal clients using a different marketing strategy. You should change the tactics outlined in your business plan to counteract the increased competition.
- You want to introduce a new product and need to convince investors to finance your venture. The stale information in your business plan is NOT going to impress them.
- You realize your entire focus has shifted and you’re now targeting a different audience. You probably won’t reach them with the obsolete ideas from your original business plan.
Don’t wait for a triggering event to initiate a business plan review. It should be done annually, quarterly, or even monthly if your situation demands.
If you have avoided reviewing your business plan because crafting the original was such a headache, stop! You only need to make necessary changes rather than starting from scratch.
TIP: Your updated plan should actually be more streamlined and concise than the original.
How to analyze your business plan:
A good place to start is with the executive summary since it’s already a short outline of each section. You want to clearly express the revised who, what, when, where, why and how of your company.
Plus, reviewing your executive summary can revive your passion and get your creative juices flowing. And having a streamlined guide to follow can restore the enthusiasm you need to approach your new goals.
Not only your business plan but also your operations manual and business procedures should be reviewed regularly.
Your internal operations manual will update any processes that have changed and aid in onboarding new staff. And clearly stated company policies help your clients understand how your business is run.
If you’ve made so many little tweaks over time that neither of these documents is relevant anymore, it’s definitely time for an upgrade!
What if you never prepared proper business documents to begin with? Imagine the benefit of having a blueprint in place with the information you need at your fingertips to keep you on the right track!
How long has it been since you revised your business plan or operating documents?
If your answer is either “too long” or “never,” consider having us assist. We can help you review your documentation to be sure you’re aligned with your current stage of business development. Let us know your needs here.
This article is part of an ongoing series on how small businesses can improve their procedures and processes to maximize their growth. What topics would you like to see featured? Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments!