13 reasons you need a business plan
Your plan has to represent your goals and dreams. Creating it will take you time and thought – and that’s a good thing. This is why it’s so important.
1. Understand your market. Look at what’s already out there so you can carve your niche effectively. Thorough research will mean your product or service will end up unique and hopefully better than the similar existing things on the market. Understanding who your competitors are is crucial to your success, as you can learn from their past mistakes, and eventually take over the market.
2. Know your message. Knowing exactly what your business is all about is going to allow you to create a realistic plan for the coming years, too. Forming a sense of identity for your business will make it attractive to customers, and you’ll feel more confident moving forward. Learn to speak confidently and concisely about your business, no matter what stage you’re at.
3. Clarity. Set yourself a handful of achievable targets, and work towards them, resetting as you go. Writing your business plan is going to make you think more clearly about what you’re doing, and where you want to be in the future. Because your business is constantly changing and evolving, remember to keep it updated and follow the important points.
4. Risk reduction. Even if your business successfully navigates the ongoing battle of a public relations crisis, the effects it can have on your business’ online search results can haunt you for years. To help mitigate future problems, it’s important to prepare. Having a crisis management plan reduces the possibility of negative content ranking in your top search results long-term.
5. Focus your efforts. Starting up a business is going to stretch your brain in ways you never knew was even possible. It will be hard work, but it’s definitely worth it. Your business plan needs to be checked regularly so you don’t lose sight of where you want to be. Using a forecast with it will give you the best chance of success.
6. Loan applications. You’re probably going to get to a point eventually where you need a cash injection. This could come at any point while you’re operating, so keeping an up to date plan will come in handy for sure. Any investor you come across would be turned off your company if you don’t have a solid plan that you’ve stuck to, or at least updated to match your new direction.
7. Attract employees and a management team. The people you come across in the early days could end up making up part of your team. When you are ready to hire, you need to be careful with your cash so your plan will help you make solid decisions.
8. Attract partners. This may seem a long way off, but you do need to make your business attractive to higher level business professionals. You’ve adhered to your plan and can show your progress to people interested, so now they’re going to take you a lot more seriously. This is good practice for when you do grow a bit bigger, and you can ensure that you’re holding up against the competition.
9. Grow your business. Your plan is your springboard for getting your company to the position you want it to be in. Share it with your employees and investors, and make sure that the entire team are all aware of their responsibilities and how they’re going to achieve the goals you’re setting. This is so important, so don’t underestimate it.
10. Judge your success. Linked to growing your business, you need to understand how successful you’ve become at all times. You never know who might be checking out all of the amazing things your business is doing from afar, so if you’re ready at a moment’s notice to tell people, you’re going to come across professional.
11. Make your business agile for changing conditions. You just never can tell what’s going to happen next. Your business needs to be healthy and agile, so when life happens, you can act accordingly. Proactive is always better than reactive!
12. Share and explain KPIs and targets. Departmentalising your business is the best way to keep a handle on what’s going on with it. It’s simply too much to deal with if you don’t break things down. KPIs are fantastic things to measure for individual and team performances too, showing you who is engaged and doing well… and who might be slacking off.
13. Sell your business. Eventually, you might want to cash in on your venture and retire to the Bahamas. And that is very understandable! Having your business plans logged and followed, your business is going to look pretty attractive to potential buyers.