Business plans are the bane of many start-ups and frequently neglected once a business has been established. However, making a business plan and keeping it up-to-date as the business grows and changes can be useful in a number of ways.
Direction and Organisation
A business plan will likely help you to understand your business and the ways in which it will grow in much greater depth. You probably feel like you have a pretty good idea where your business is going, but getting all those ideas down on paper can still be incredibly useful. It could help you to:
- turn ideas into clear objectives;
- identify the way in which different aspects of your business relate and can support one another;
- make your day-to-day activities more coordinated and focussed by following a clear plan for growth.
This is particularly true in the early stages of the business, but it can also help existing businesses to run in the most focussed, efficient way possible. Furthermore, if you plan to expand your business’ activities updating your business plan to reflect the ways in which this will be executed can provide valuable guidance.
In order to identify clear, definitive objectives and see how they relate to one another, it is best to ensure your business plan follows a clear structure. This can be difficult if you are new to running a business, or have simply never put together a formal business plan before.
Fortunately, if unsurprisingly, there is a wealth of information available online. A number of organisations provide free advice, as well as templates which provide an easy guide to the ways in which you could structure your business plan. The government has a useful guide as does and the Prince’s Trust, for example.
A business plan will almost certainly be needed in many circumstances if you try to secure financial support for your business. Finance is often essential for helping new businesses get off of the ground, but it may also be required to support growth and expansion of an existing business.
Finance will most likely either come from investors or as a loan from a credit provider. Both types of finance provider will usually want to see evidence that you have clear, well-laid plans for making the business profitable and this evidence will usually take the form of a business plan.
Some business credit providers such as Everline handle their loans a little differently and will consider applications from established businesses without requiring a business plan. For some companies, therefore, a business plan may not be strictly essential when it comes to securing finance. However, having a business plan will enable you to look at a wider section of the market and take into account the full range of loan providers. This may be useful if you want to make sure that you secure competitive rates and the most appropriate plan for the needs of your business.
As a business owner, you may find you get so involved in the day to day running of your company, as well as carrying out your role, that you may tend to actually forget to sit back and look at your business goals. A business plan can help you define this and help you refocus your efforts.