Is It Time To Revisit Your Beautiful Business Plan?
So do you remember that beautiful business plan that you spent hours creating? Where is it now?
When we start a new venture, we begin with a plan, more formally known as a business plan.
But what is the real purpose of that business plan? Well, if you are going corporate style, it will be most likely to secure investors. But if you are going it solo, one of the most fundamental purposes for a business plan is to serve you, the Founder.
It should look at your business model right through to how you take payment.
The idea of a business plan is to map out the path, to attempt to see how your business is going to work and to foresee any problems. But once we get past all of that, what it really boils down to is that your business plan should be almost a handbook, something to relate to, for guidance.
But the reality? Most people only write a business plan once and then forget about it. This practice may be fine for a little while but can be problematic when your business starts to evolve.
World events happen, interests change, ideal client focuses shifts. So, the answer to this? Well, you may have guessed it from my overwhelmingly long intro to harbour this point: The Return of The Business Plan: Part Two.
Yes, that's right it is time to re-ask yourself those hard and gritty questions, it's time to get to know your numbers and know what solution it is you are selling. Because regardless of whether it is a product, service or hybrid, your solution is what you are selling.
Here are some questions to get you started...
Who is my ideal client base?
Where do I want to be?
How many clients do I need to get there?
How am I going to attract clients?
How am I going to retain clients?
Then there is revisiting the processes.
It is no secret that we are all about streamlining processes, why? Because streamlining methods allows you to be more time efficient, it will enable you to serve your client base better, and in turn, you grow.
So take a look at the way you currently do things. In some cases it may be the idea that if it is not broke, do not fix it, however, in other circumstances, you may find that there is a lot of unnecessary resistance in some of your processes.
What elements of your processes can you streamline?
We have talked endlessly about automation and outsourcing, from meals to time, so we are just going to say this: keep a time diary. Keeping a time diary can help you identify leaks in your time. And let’s not forget about what elements of your staff's processes can you streamline?
Break it down, for example, a client that we introduced Receipt Bank to, managed to grow and retain their client database with the extra time they gained.
Well, this simple app allowed their admin assistant to work on client retention instead of spending half a day a week inputting receipts.
Instead, it took her an hour. The rest of the time was then redirected into client retention and referrals. So, the moral of this anecdote?
Look at ALL of the processes in your business, not just your own daily tasks. Everyone's productivity matters
Ok, so we have covered clients and time. The third and final thing we want to suggest that you look at when you revisit your business plan is your financials.
Of course, as Accountants, we have to talk about it. How are you getting on with the financial plans of your business plan? Have you succeeded in them? Do you need to set more ambitious goals?
Or maybe you need to look at strengthening your income streams? Here is one prompt question to start thinking about...
Have you got the income streams in place to support your financial goals?
So what next? Go dig out that old business plan and get started. Look at where you are now and see how your current business plans fit into your next steps.
One more thing, do not be afraid to change something that is not working, there is no sense in flogging a dead horse as they say (quite a horrible idea when you think about it), but it's true.
There are no points for working hard at something that is not working, and again, that is not to say it never will work, it just may not be the right time for now.
About the author
Chloe Slade is the Marketing Manager here at Cone and focuses on creating content that brings business and lifestyle together. Chloe is a keen makeup lover, foodie and loves to work from luxurious destinations.