Another New Year’s Day has passed, and new opportunities await you in 2016. What’s on your to-do list of activities that will help you take advantage of them? A revamp of your business plan, perhaps? Reworking your plan at the beginning of the year can help you discover new strategies and prepare for any financing you may need to make them happen.
Business plans are living, evolving documents that should be reviewed regularly to reflect changes in your company. Here are some areas that may need attention and ways to address them.
- Update all financial data – By now, you should have final numbers from last year. Your business plan should always reflect current data. If revenues are up, your tables and charts will reflect that. If not, you’ll have an opportunity to explain why. Lenders always insist on current numbers.
- Edit your executive summary – Whether your business is well-established or relatively new, each year is a learning process. Reflect on what you learned in the past 12 months and incorporate those insights. If you are planning new marketing strategies, include those as well. Work on language clarity, concise presentation and other improvements to this crucial section.
- Adjust your marketing plan – What changed last year? Fine tune your demographic focus based on actual experience. Reassess your competition. Reference any changes in online marketing efforts and other outreach methods to attract new business. You may also discover fresh new ideas to explore.
- Has your business changed in other ways? – Have you added new product lines or services? Are you planning an expansion? Did you make major management or organizational changes? Are you remodeling or reconfiguring your business? All changes need to be included in the content to keep it current and present the business in the best possible light.
- Is your plan document the best it can be? – Review your business plan from top to bottom. Could it be improved? From layout and formatting to the quality of its content, improvements can have a dramatic effect when you hand the plan to a lender. Today’s business plan software can be of great help in creating an effective document. The content might also benefit from professional editing.
- Get a second opinion before finalizing the plan – We can schedule a meeting with you to go over your business plan – or to create one if you don’t have one. It’s easy to neglect important information or to underemphasize strategic sections that could enhance its effectiveness.
Start the New Year Right with a Powerful New Plan
Your company’s business plan isn’t just about applying for loans. By updating it, you’ll also get a fresh look at what worked and didn’t last year. As you review and modify it, focus on discovering fresh ideas for beneficial changes in the upcoming year. Make your formal business plan your personal guide to growth and success.