Updated: Feb 17
In last week’s companion article, How to write an awesome business plan, I covered the first five things you must include in a ‘rocking’ business plan.
This is part 2 of this two-part series so make sure you read my previous article for the complete guide on what you should include in a business plan. Remember that 90% of business owners never complete a proper business plan and yet it is one of the key measures of success in business; to know where you are, where you are going and how you plan to get there. Without it, you’ll be lost on a dark highway at night on a journey to nowhere. For a successful and completed journey; write a business plan!
Here are five more tips:
6. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.
A business plan may have 30 or 40 pages of information. Don’t ever believe that you can simply dot point things on one page. There are many advisors who tell you they have a ‘one-page business plan’ as if this is something that is good. A one-page summary plan or an executive summary is incredibly useful for your plan, and it should have one. Your full plan will contain much more information than this. A one-page summary alone is just not good enough.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst; a good business plan will have various scenarios for your business. Pessimistic, conservative and optimistic sales targets and expense levels for each. You have to track actual performance against budgets, and it is a wise business owner who keeps an eye on which scenario you seem to be most closely matching so you can rein in expenses before you lose the farm.
8. ORGANISE YOUR TEAM.
A very useful element in any business plan is a breakdown of who is doing what. Sure, an organisation chart is sometimes considered useful but not on its own. Whilst a chart can tell you a name and a title, the best way to organise a team is to identify the part each plays in the overall plan.
What parts of the plan are they going to be responsible for? Everyone likes to know what position they are playing on the team. They also like to know how they are performing as the game goes along. So, defining in the plan, what role they play and the things they will perform, and then tracking this over the year is a great addition to any business plan.
9. SMART OBJECTIVES.
Speaking of goals, you want to make sure your plan includes what many call SMART objectives. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound objectives. Basically, what you will achieve and by when. Having details and times will allow you to track progress easily and know when to celebrate or ‘work harder’.
This is also called an ‘ideal scene’. It is what you see as the future for your business. Imagine closing your eyes and witnessing a window to the future. What is happening in your business, what has it achieved, what do your people think and say about your organisation, who is working for you, what legacy have you left? Put some detailed thought into why you are running this business; to make a difference, to achieve financial independence, to change people’s lives. And then describe and illustrate this in your plan too.
Well, there you have it. Between these two articles, you have ten things that are critical to include in an awesome business plan.
Armed with this plan, now all you have to do is ‘work the plan’, and you will be on your way to a prosperous and successful business.
Originally published on Smallville.