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.