When you first decided to embark on your small business journey, one of the first things you did was create a business plan. This business plan outlined the goals of your new small business, reasons for how they would be attainable, and a clearly outlined plan for reaching those goals. What you may or may not realize is that it is a good thing to occasionally come back to that business plan and do a bit of revamping. Over the years, a small business’ goals may change and the reasons for those goals should be outlined once again.
One huge reason for revisiting your business plan is the possibility of cost overrun and subsequent revenue shortfalls. A resonating example of this is the dot-com bubble 1997-2001 – technology start-ups during this time frame grossly underestimated their costs and overestimated their revenues. By going back to your business plan periodically to reassess these points, you can save yourself the heartache of having to close up shop or drastically cutback to compensate for unexpected losses.
When first opening the doors to your small business, you had one or two types of customers in mind. As your business grows and expands, this customer base may change. New products and services can mean bringing in an entirely new set of buyers and your business plan should reflect this accordingly. Having a new customer base can greatly affect the goals and plans within your business plan. Knowing exactly how you plan on incorporating these new customers into your business plan will help keep your goals fresh and attainable.
Your very first business plan probably seemed like a daunting task. Revisiting and rewriting it need not be intimidating. If you use the following steps, your rewritten business plan will be a breeze.
- Think about and then write out your basic business concept.
- Gather all the data and information you can regarding the specifics and feasibility of the business concept.
- Refine and clearly define the concept based on the information and data you have gathered.
- Using “what, where, why, and how”, outline the specifics of your business.
- Create your rewritten business plan in a format that is compelling – this will help give you insight, focus, and will assist you in dealing with important business relationships.
Remember – revisiting your business plan every few years or so will help you keep ahead of possible overruns and shortfalls, will help you redefine your customer base, and will enable you to keep your business goals foremost in your mind as well as attainable. It need not be frightening and will ensure you keep your doors open in the years to come.