When you’re starting a new business, there are probably many things that you are really good at. After all, passion and talent are what spark most business ideas. You might be really good at selling, really creative, or can spot the latest trends a mile off. Conversely, one of the things most new business owners are not great at is creating a business plan. But there is no getting around it – a business plan is a necessary tool for success. MOST businesses fail without a plan, and some will still fail if they have written a plan that’s not effective. Its ok, writing a business plan is something anyone can get better at, with a little help.
We’ve made it somewhat easier to get familiar with how to create the most effective business plan that will set you up for success and give you the confidence to handle anything that comes along during setup or operation.
Here are our top five steps to ensure your business plan is effective:
- Start with the end in mind, and outline your end goals first. This might be the early retirement or the house deposit. Think big! Then following from that end goal, decide your goal(s) for the financial year. They must be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled).
- Make sure your SMART goals are exciting to you and don’t conflict with one another nor with where you’re heading longer term or in other parts of life. The last thing you want to do is work hard all year, achieve all of your goals and then realize you don’t really care about them or that they were not aligned with your longer term goals.
- Outline the smaller steps needed to reach your goals. These should be steps that are small enough to achieve (which gives you confidence) but big enough to make a positive leap forward toward the overall plan. For example, ‘complete marketing plan’ is very broad, and not specific enough to know the time or steps needed to get it done. With large tasks like this, break them down into smaller bite sized chunks!
- Ensure the plan is realistic. Have you considered holidays, conferences and other things that might “get in the way” of doing the actions in your plan? Have you listed too many tasks for one time, which means you’re unlikely to be able to complete them all? You need to be able to look at the steps in the plan, as well as their timing, and feel a reasonable level of confidence that they can all be completed. Your business plan should make you feel excited, not overwhelmed!
- Ensure that you can track and monitor the progress of every goal within your plan. To do this, ensure that each and every step in the plan is SMAT (different to SMART). That is, Specific, Measurable (so you can see when each step is completed), Achievable and have Time allocated to them. In an annual plan, this will typically be monthly. In a 90-Day Plan, weekly.
Our clients who have used these recommended five steps when creating a business plan, have grown in confidence, reduced their ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’, set goals and planned for success. You can too.
If you are starting out or trying to grow a relatively new business, here are some of the components of business that ActionCOACH can help you with:
Business planning, goal setting, time management, sales and marketing, increasing leads, improving conversion, implementing systems, building a great team, effective leadership, financial control, cash flow techniques and preparing your business for sale.
ActionCOACH is here ready to help! Please get in touch with our coaches on 02 9146 4439 or download a copy of the new eBook Planning for a successful new financial year here.