Are you thinking of improving your business or going international? Take some time to meditate about it and reflect upon yourself and plan ahead. More than half a year has gone by now, so you might feel the need to go back to your business plan, analyze it and perhaps re-build it.
Is it still valid for you as it is right now? Have you achieved what you planned? And how far did you go from there?
Although these might sound like stupid questions, it's not so simple to answer them, as they require you to objectively analyze your achievements.
In fact, there are many reasons why it is important to build a business plan and keep it updated. According to a study by Barclays, 20% of small- and medium-sized businesses have no business plan, and this contributes to the failure of the majority of them.
This is due to the fact that a good business plan helps you first of all visualize the core of your activity—the points you have to improve and where you need to invest more. You will gain focus, efficiency, and communication, and you will also be able to attract new customers.
Here are four reasons why you should build a business plan.
Analyze and predict
A well-structured business plan forces you to find out your activity's strong points as well as the weak ones, helping you to manage possible issues that might arise all along the way. What's more, it will help you see whether you are doing well or not, and consequently adjust your direction. By doing so, you'll be able to set up your next move and predict how it will go.
Sailing by sight is quite dangerous for an enterprise!
Be more efficient
A business plan is not just something you write down and stuff inside a drawer; it is a live document. It should help you keep in mind the seminal steps of your program so that you can change it if you realize that the moment has come for your business to take a different, better direction.
It is also a good way to set reminders or schedule internal meetings with employees to review the business.
Speaking of meetings and reviews, bear in mind that communication is the center of every business, small or big. By writing a business plan, you can clarify your goals and how you intend to reach them so that you can easily communicate them to your employees.
If you involve them in what you do or plan to do, they'll be more motivated and, at the same time, you'll be sure that everyone will be on the ball in every situation.
Attract new customers
Last but not least, if you keep a clear mind—and a clear plan—on what you need and want to do, you'll have more opportunities to attract customers and investors, especially if you are planning to internationalize your company. In fact, your investors want to gain profit from their investment, so it's definitely better if you demonstrate that you know how to run a successful business.
Furthermore, alongside a business plan, a marketing plan can also help you look appealing to new potential customers.
So, now that you're possibly relaxed after your holiday break, don't you think it's time to analyze your business plan and make some adjustments to it?
Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos