Master your business plan in 5 simple steps
Posted on by Katie Hook
Estimated read time: 4 mins
Planning is one of the key fundamentals for business success. It provides a road map, facilitates growth and reduces risk. If you’re not convinced, then you should take a look at our recent post, 5 Reasons You Need a Business Plan.
The problem with planning is that it can be difficult to know where to start or what to include. If you ask 10 people how to create a business plan, there’s a good chance you’ll get 10 very different responses.
Ultimately, the perfect business plan will be different from one business to the next and in order to create a plan that works for you and your business, you should follow these 5 simple steps…
Step 1. Create a mission statement
Any good plan starts with a dream! Spend some time considering the vision for your business and then make sure that this is the basis from which the rest of your plan is built.
Your mission statement should align all the activities in your business, from your branding to your marketing and products and services.
Step 2. Set goals
Once your mission statement is agreed, you can put goals in place which help you achieve your vision. The first goal you should set should be a revenue target, with your other goals helping you to support that target.
Make sure your goals are SMART, that is to say, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and lastly, they should have a Timescale.
Step 3. Consider your budget
Now you know where you want to be and how you’re going to get there, you can start to identify your costs and potential revenue. Perhaps you’ll need to take on more staff or equipment in order to achieve certain goals?
Building a budget into your business plan allows you to maintain control over your spending and to identify any potential need for further investment or credit. It also helps you to build in contingencies to allow for unexpected cash flow problems which may occur due to late paid invoices etc.
Step 4. Marketing
Of course, you’ll need to get the word out to your potential customers. Think about who your target market is and how best you can reach them through your marketing activities.
Make sure that each of your marketing channels are in alignment both with your goals and with each other.
Experian Business Assist is a quick and efficient way to help you find the right customers for you.
Step 5. Assess risk
Lastly, you should be identifying and planning for potential risks which may prevent you from achieving your business goals or reaching your vision. Conduct a competitor analysis so you can understand what they are doing and how you can stand out.
Once you’ve identified any potential risks, you can build in processes and contingencies which will help you to reduce them or avoid them altogether.
Experian Business Assist can help you to reduce your financial risk with company credit checks, so you can see a detailed picture of your customers and suppliers. Keep your cash flow safe by only offering credit that’s right for you and them. Visit Experian Business Express today to try for free or to find out more.