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Filling the Gaps - Revisit Your Business Planning

Thursday, July 10, 2014   By Mike Reddy

 



As a business coach I am a fan of a good business plan. Not a plan that is produced from cheap templates but a short, sharp plan that is focused on achieving great results from your business.

For the best result a good business plan needs to be both sustainable and flexible. I have found that businesses which adhere to these criteria produce the best results for their stakeholders well into the future.

That being said, flexibility is not the only foundation on which one can build a winning business plan. It should never be regarded as a task to simply be checked off your to-do list. Your business plan is an ongoing, creative process that deserves and requires constant nurture, adjustment and attention.

Your business plan should be revisited annually, at the minimum, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to stay on the course to achieve your vision.

Here are the four key areas you want to examine:

  • Services/Product: Listen to your customer feedback; customers are, after all, your most important asset. Talk to your best customers (both long- term and most profitable) and listen to what they identify as the key advantages you have to offer.

  • Industry/Competition: Always keep track of changes in your industry. Assess the strengths and weakness of your competitors as you bolster your plan of attack. Build on your specific strengths and advantages to set you above your competition.

  • Marketing/Sales: This is an area that should be under constant scrutiny. If something is not working, make the needed changes. Be sure you can track the results of any funds you spend.;

  • Finances: Look at the actual numbers. Are you truly reaching your financial goals? Where can you make changes that will bring about the best results?

Remember, I am here to help. As part of my business coaching process, I have a tried and tested system to help you get the best results from your business plan review.

Once you have evaluated each of these areas, the changes needed to your original plan should be obvious.

Rework your plan accordingly. Follow through with your team members to be certain they understand any changes that require their contribution in order to achieve your desired goals.

As you work through each section, follow these guidelines:

  • Focus. Narrow the scope, zoom in first and then pan out and look at the bigger picture.

  • Observe. Examine your surroundings and apply changes accordingly.

  • Resolve. Don’t make changes to areas which are working well. Instead apply your energy to create solutions for problem areas.

  • Compute. Break out the calculator, this is all about equations and you want your numbers to add up.

Many experts refer to the importance of creating a “living document” that is your business plan - one that never remains stagnant and is, in fact, always evolving.

Understanding your business plan this way allows you, as the business owner, to remain accountable and stay on the path to success.


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.