Like many business owners, when I used to hear the word “business plan” my mind would instantly flick to the idea of a wordy, 20-page document, full of stats and market research that was usually written for the benefit of someone else (ie. The bank manager).
Not exactly something I was excited to write, and if I’m being honest, not something that ever really came back out of my bottom drawer to be referred to again!
And this is where I think business plans get a bad reputation, because yes this is one form of a business plan. But a business plan can, and should, be something you write FOR YOU, and it should be an enjoyable process, that helps you (and your team) get clear on your vision for the company, where you’re going and how you’re going to start that journey today.
For me, the best business plans, are not complicated, and they’re not lengthy. I think a business plan that’s clear, simple, easy to understand, and to-the-point, can be one of your most powerful tools as a business owner. With my clients I take them through a simple process of answering 8 questions, to produce a simple business plan that can usually be written on just 2 sides of A4 paper.
Check out my free report here if you'd like to try this process for yourself.
So what will you get from writing a business plan?
Clarity. For me the biggest benefit of taking the time to write a business plan is the clarity it gives you around where you want your company to go, what your vision is, and what you stand for – what your values are.
It forces you to define some of those otherwise intangible elements such as your values and your “why”. Once you’re really clear on what your aiming at, you’ll find often that your next steps suddenly become obvious, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you start to accelerate towards those goals.
Communication. Rather than relying on a verbal description which can often be vague or mis-interpreted, taking the time to create a clear and simple business plan makes it really easy to share your vision with your team, any prospective staff members, strategic partners and even your clients.
Giving them this clarity means they’ll be able to see clearly what your vision is, and what their part is in achieving it. If they understand if they’re more likely to be excited by and engaged with the goals, and you can get everybody on-board and rowing in the same direction to achieve them even faster.
Focus. Having a clear written plan will give you something to keep you on track when you start to feel the pull of a “shiny object” distraction as we all do at times. It will remind you of why you started your company and what you want from it when you start to lose sight of that, and it will provide accountability for the goals and deadlines you set to keep you moving forward (especially if you’ve shared it with other people!)
It should also help you to break down those goals into a clear, short-term action plan so you feel clear and confident on what you need to achieve right now to start moving forward.
Convinced? Check out my free report here which takes you through the simple process I use to create a 2 page business action plan with my clients.
Remember, a business plan should be written for you, not for anyone else. It should be a guiding document that helps you get clear on your vision for your company, what you stand for, how you want to conduct your business and who you want to work with. It should help you understand your marketing, and identify some clear short-term goals to help you identify your next steps and get moving quickly. It doesn’t have to be complicated, or technical. It should be something that you can easily understand, that helps you see how you’re going to move your company forward.
With my clients I use a simple 8 step process to create a clear, simple 2 page document. If you’d like me to send you that planning process so you can create your own 2 page plan click here and I’ll email it over to you.