Stay flexible in your business planning

Business plans cannot be cast in stone

businessBefore you accept the challenge of opening a business you have to plan how you’ll make it successful. That will only make sense if you’ve selected a business you can enjoy doing, which has a propensity for profitability. Many people will prepare a plan because a bank required it as a part of a loan application. Others will prepare a  plan as a requirement for entrance into a set-aside program. Some business owners use them to attract partners or investors and dozens of other reasons.  Aside from the possibility that plan might not have been designed for use as a management tool, it typically goes unused.

Going into business without a  plan is like asking for directions and telling the person you’re asking you don’t care where you end up.  It is your blueprint for how you plan to take your business from a dream to a successful reality. Just having a business plan means nothing, if it wasn’t based on relevant research. Of equal if not greater importance is that your business plan is flexible.  If your business plan does not change and evolve with your business it is almost worthless.

Business planning realities

A person with a documented business plan has a four to five times better chance of succeeding than a person without one. However, if the business plan is inflexible, it is only a cut above having no plan at all. Many modern business planners recommend the use of a one or two-page business plan. Declaring the time saved in planning can be used to learn as you go.  Since you could put together a reasonable estimate of how you plan to proceed in business that thinking is flawed. You don’t plan for your business to last for 30 days.  And whatever you could learn in 30 days could not compare to the research you could do in 30 days.

A new business owner who allowed his business plan to become a living document would be on the right track.  A business plan might become a living document when it is updated with the company’s actual results. If that business plan is used to help define how the company would be managed day, it would move closer. There are other possibilities for making a business plan the living document you need to manage your company.  But the use of the previously mentioned minimums must occur before any discussion of a living documen may occur.

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