Why not all business plan templates are equal

As we approach the end of 2016 this is an excellent time to reflect on the last 12 months and ask yourself some tough but necessary questions about the year ahead. This is when you may want to draw up a business plan but not before we explain why not all business plans are equal.

As you begin to look at the next calendar year, you might want to rethink your business plan and this is where we can help. We know from experience why most business plans are barely worth the paper they’re written on.

If your business plan doesn’t capture the right steps to develop the business towards the end goals you have for it, you need to re-write it.  So what are the right steps to developing the business?  Here are the main elements you must ensure that your business has in place; so, to the extent that any are not in place, appropriate steps should be planned to implement them:

The first step would look at: time mastery, money mastery and delivery mastery. With time mastery, for example, start to ask yourself whether what you’re doing is urgent or important and plan your time accordingly. If you plan well, 60 per cent of your time should be spent working on tasks that are important but not urgent. These are the tasks that build a great business.

As for money mastery, what are your financial goals? What can you do in the first 90 days of 2017 that will help support the growth of your business? Do you have the appropriate financial reporting in place to manage any financial risk in the business?  Monthly Profit and Loss Statement?  Weekly Cashflow Forecast?  And so on….

In essence, delivery mastery involves ensuring that it is easy for your customers to buy from you and that you deliver your product or service in a way that wow’s them!

Step two is about creating a niche that sets you apart from your competition, such as to avoid having to compete on price. ActionCoach can show you five activities that will then allow you to dramatically increase the growth of your business, along with the profit that it generates.

Step three is about leverage – how can you do less to gain more?  In its ultimate business form, leverage is about ensuring that your business runs without you.  To achieve that, you must implement the nine steps to systematizing your business – which of those will you complete in the next year?  Make sure you have the right ones in your plan!

Step four is about your team and how to develop a winning team that will help your business prosper. Questions you need to consider include how can you make your team more effective and who do you need to recruit in the next year?

The fifth step requires the first four steps to have been completed or be near completion first. This step becomes possible when you’ve reached the point where you can sit back and gain such much needed perspective on where the business is now and where you want to take it. You now have your time back so a range of exciting and potentially significant growth strategies are possible.

The sixth and final step in your business evolution involves selling your business. For some of you, this will occupy a significant part of your plan for next year so make sure you’ve mapped out the steps to enjoy a successful sale.  If you’re completed the previous steps properly, you’ll certainly have a salable asset!

Like we said, not all business plans are created equal.  Use this outline to ensure that your plan for the next year will take your business toward your goals for it….making it a great year!

Want to ensure 2017 is your best year yet?  Speak with one of our business coaches here.


Does your business plan include these six fundamental steps?

So you might have written a draft business plan and you might be confident you have covered all the bases but to ensure ongoing success does your business plans include these six fundamental steps?

Let’s ask why you need a business plan in the first place. A business plan is one of the best ways to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you’re setting important and far-reaching goals. A business plan is an excellent way of taking baby steps, but ones with purpose.

  • Step one involves breaking it down into manageable goals. This is a good way to approach your business plan. Set annual, five-yearly, monthly and weekly goals. Keep referring to – and refreshing – these as you go along so you always keep in check what your aspirations are and when you obtain them.
  • Step two requires you to ensure that your goals are all SMART – that is, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled.

When you’re setting your goals be careful not to put in place goals you think you need to achieve rather than ones you’re passionate and driven about. What’s the point of having a business plan if your heart and mind aren’t really in it? You’ve got to really want it.

  • Step three is being realistic. Once you’ve written your goals, ask yourself how achievable the entire plan is (not just each goal individually). Remember to consider factors such as holidays, meetings and other events that could get in the way. As well, it’s wise not to try to overachieve – the last thing you want is burnout!
  • Step four requires you to track and monitor your progress, it’s vital to keep going back to this. You can use a variation on SMART which is SMAT. That is, each individual step in the plan should be Specific and Measurable (so you can tell when each step is completed), they should be Achievable and they should have a Time allocated to them.  However, individually, they are just a step in a process, not a result….hence SMAT, not SMART!
  • Your fifth fundamental step for your business plan is to include your own development. What new skills will you be learning? Will they include constructive habits and beliefs? Will you be developing the right capabilities and habits to execute your plan and achieve your goals?
  • Finally, step six is involves stepping back and ensuring that your plan allows for and includes other things in life such as leisure, family time, sport and whatever else you need to keep you fresh, balanced and motivated.