When you think of starting a new business the first suggestion or advice you will get is to prepare a business plan. Many entrepreneurs feel it is a daunting task and a major obstacle. But, does it have to be? Let us find out.
Before going into complex and slightly intriguing task of understanding planning process for the business let us see a very simple and small everyday task.
I need to go to Heathrow airport from my office near Greenwich in London. Should I go by bus? Should I go by Tube? Should I travel by my own car? Or, should I take a cab?
If I decide to travel by Tube, which route should I take? How much time will it take to reach Heathrow? Do I have a deadline to meet (which might be the case if I am dropping off someone who needs to catch a flight)? How much will it cost? Will I need cash or card to pay for parking? Do I need to bring back any heavy luggage from Heathrow? How much time will it take to return? Will there be heavy traffic on the route I am thinking to take?
I need to find answers to similar questions for different modes of travel and different routes.
Once I have all the answers, it will be easy for me to decide the mode of travel and route to take.
Let’s say, based on the information I gathered, I decide to take my car to Heathrow and I decide to travel through Central London.
While on way, my car’s built-in satellite navigation system constantly analyses the traffic ahead and if there is any bottleneck or delays are expected, it asks me if I wish to see alternative routes to avoid these bottlenecks.
I finally arrive at Heathrow, as required – which may or may not be exactly as I planned before I started.
Let us now try to see if this has any similarities to the business world.
I know where I am when I begin my journey. I am at my office in Lewisham. This is similar to knowing where my business currently is.
I know my destination. I wish to reach Heathrow. This is similar to where I wish to take my business or my objective or mission.
Before starting on journey, I analyzed the alternative routes and modes which is similar to analysing external environment, internal environment and analyzing resources available and costs involved.
I made an informed decision and set out on journey, however the circumstances kept changing constantly but my satellite navigation system constantly analysed traffic situation and helped me make changes to my plan to avoid bottlenecks.
This essentially is similar to having a business plan, constantly monitoring it and fine-tuning it based on current situation. SatNav system is my business advisor or mentor who constantly provides information and guidance, but mind you, I still need to make decisions as it is my journey.
According to SCORE, USA “the real value of creating a business plan is not in having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically. It takes time now, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.” And, also allows you to change the course of your journey without causing huge cost over runs or waste of time.
Your business plan does not need to be a 10 or 50 page document, but can be even one page plan.
Most people also tend to make a small mistake here. They consider that business plan is a rigid plan and there is no scope for any changes. In reality, business plan has to be very flexible and elastic to make changes in an instant.
Most businesses and entrepreneurs make a business plan once and then just forget about it. The plan needs to be constantly reviewed and modified to remain on course to reach the final destination or to accomplish the mission.
I hope this post helps you creating an effective business plan for your business.
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Have a Great Business Day!
ps: this blog post was originally posted by us on ukbusinessforums.co.uk