Ever tried to sell a house, raise a child, or get an education without some sort of plan? Of course not. So why do you insist on running a SMB without a plan? “I have a plan,” you say, before you admit you haven’t looked at it since 1985 when you needed it to get that startup loan. For those with a business plan, you should update it every six months according to Business Plans: They’re Not Just for Startups. Whether you lack a formal, written plan by a professional writer, or you simply need to spruce it up, these steps will take you to the next level.
Business Plan 101
A business plan is the document that records your past, present and future, noting any tribulations, progressions or long term goals. In addition to using a business plan for securing financial backing, grants and loans, a business plan puts forth the intentions, interests, goals and growth of any business venture. Committing to your business goals by seeing them thought out and expressed on paper helps to make any vision or dream a reality. Additionally, when your SMB is in a rut or losing its focus, you can whip out your business plan to make adjustments in weak areas.
Step by Step: Business Plan
According to the SBA there are several distinct parts to a business plan:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Service or product
- Funding concerns
- Financial forecast
Each of these sections of a business plan feature a specified list of topics to include. For example, using the SBA resource, you’ll see that the executive summary should include a mission statement, company details, company growth, products/services rendered, financial statements, and goals for the future. By taking each section listed in a business plan and completing information regarding your SMB, you can complete a decent business plan within a short period of time.
Taking It to the Next Level
Now that you have a drafted business plan, your next step is to finalize the document. If you are concerned with being a rotten writer, consider hiring a professional writer to polish your draft to perfection. If you prefer to keep things on the up and up, go legal and have the business plan notarized for legal binding. Once the business plan is finished, use the plan to back your business in the financial realm, with potential clients and when forming partnerships.
Six Month Checkup
When revamping your business plan every six months, start by reading over your existing plan, while making notes regarding failures and progress of goals. Use analysis tools, such as of product sales, employee satisfaction reports and customer service comments, as a way to determine if your business is moving in the direction of your plan. Revisions will keep your business plan on target with the ever changing business world in which you operate. Meanwhile, you’ll be more likely to stay on target with the focus afforded by your precious business plan.
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.