The holiday break is a great time to take stock and identify where you’re heading over the coming twelve months. We’re big on using the break, and time away from emails, phone calls and customers to update our business plan. By revising your plan and setting new targets for the coming twelve months, you’ll start the New Year off with a bang, rather than a cough and a splutter.
Everyone can benefit from business planning – from a successful business owner, to someone contemplating their own start-up, and everyone in between. Even people not in business, such as those building a rental property portfolio or a share portfolio, can benefit from planning.
In addition to giving a clear direction and goals, business planning can help you by:
- Identifying new opportunities
- Giving you a reference point to help make future business decisions
- Clarifying your exit strategy
- Avoiding piece-meal growth and progress, which ultimately contributes little to business value
- Creating a framework to measure your progress throughout the year
Business planning requires you to look at where you are now in all aspects of your business, identify where you want to get to, and then establish a path to get from one to the other. There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to business planning. We prefer to use a one page business plan, while others prefer more detailed plans which can stretch on (and on…) for pages and pages. No one approach is best – again, do whatever works best for you.
At a minimum, a business plan should include:
- Your vision (where you’re going) and purpose (why you’re doing what you do)
- How you’re going to get to your vision
- Your goals for the next two or three years
- The objectives you’re going to achieve quickly and a schedule (action points with due dates) to achieve the objectives
- Who your ideal customer is and how you’re going to market to them
A quick Google search will bring up range of other points you can also include in your business plan. These include a SWOT analysis of your business, examining who your competition is and what they’re doing, brand and identity development, your key performance indicators and more. How you decide what is, and isn’t, in your plan is ultimately up to you.
Use the down-time over the holiday break to look at where you’re heading over the coming twelve months. With a bit of direction, you should get to wherever it is you’re going, much quicker than you would by chance.