Just imagine you have to make a journey that you are unfamiliar with. What is the first thing you will reach for? I asked this question during a training seminar recently, and most people said it would be a sat nav or a route map. It was the general opinion of the group that it would be foolish to try and find your way to your destination without the help of these aids in the planning process.
For me, I have always seen the process of starting a business as embarking on a journey. If this is so, we will need some kind of sat nav or route map to help us build a business that will be sustainable. I have always thought of the business plan as the equivalent of a sat nav or route map. To start a business without a business plan, is like going on a journey without a guide, trying to start something in the dark, or as someone said recently, attempting to “wing it”. Starting and running a successful business takes money as well as blood, sweat, and tears. To maximise the chances of success, a business plan is a pre-requisite.
The only time success comes before work is in a dictionary. To achieve maximum impact from the work needed, here are 5 easy steps to creating a fit for purpose business plan:-
1. Talk to Enterprise for London for help
Businesses which are supported by Enterprise for London survive longer, grow faster and are more profitable. Our expert advisors can help with your business plan. Our advisors have a wealth of business experience to draw on and are able to provide a full outline of what is needed in a good business plan. Remember, that there are many different kinds of business plan written for different reasons. Enterprise for London advisors know exactly what you need to consider in producing a document which is workable for you. In other words, helping you towards discovering the equivalent of a suitable sat nat, or map. This resource will serve as a guide on your journey to starting a successful business.
2. Start writing your plan sooner, rather than later
Don’t wait until you have all of your ideas, thoughts, and facts firmly in your mind. Start writing as soon as you can. The process of writing things down, even if the content is quite scant at the beginning can help focus the mind. Seeing your thoughts and ideas in written form can help you find a certain clarity which cannot be seen when you hold things in your head. Also, seeing thoughts become physical on a document can be very motivating. I have always seen my words on paper as a kind of bridge between the ideas in my mind to making things happen.
3. Keep it simple
A question I am often asked, is “Does a Business Plan have to be a long document?” I believe the plan should be long enough to cover the vital points but short enough to be interesting. A good plan should not be complicated. It should be written in a way in which, someone else can read through it, and easily understand who you are and what you want to achieve. Long, unwieldy, overwhelming documents do not work. It is easy to make something complicated. It is less easy to make something succinct.
4. Remember your plan should be a “live” document
One of the only certain things in life is the concept of “change”. As you write your plan, bear this in mind. To maximise the benefit of the plan, consider it as a “live” document. Be ready to update it regularly as you discover new information. A good business plan evolves over a period of time. From the scant beginnings I talked about in point 2, it should evolve to aid you in starting the business, and it should continue to evolve once the business starts, to help keep you on track.
5. Invite feedback
Something that makes sense to us, may not make sense to others. Asking for feedback from others can help clarify anything we may need to “tweek.” Asking others to ask us questions on the contents, can test whether we truly understand what we are trying to achieve. Nwes advisors are experts at providing feedback and acting as “sounding boards.” This process contributes to ensuring that your business plan will serve as an effective focal point in helping you to achieve your aims and aspirations.
Download a free Business Plan Template here.