Wondering why your business revenue is going in the wrong direction? It all goes back to that foundation you first created for your company — or sometimes didn’t create — and how solid it was front the start. Everything since then should be built on top of that foundation, that plan. Without a strong and clear strategic plan, your business may flounder, and you may make a lot of costly mistakes along the way.
The following are some of the most common problems I’ve seen business owners have with regards to their business plan.
1. It’s Nonexistent
Maybe you never slowed down enough to actually write a business plan for the strategic growth of your company in its early days. Perhaps that’s because you didn’t think you needed one, were overwhelmed at the idea of writing one, or didn’t know where to begin.
How to Fix It: Better late than never. Start today with a fresh business plan or strategic plan on where your company is and where you want to take it. Start with free software such as www.enloop.com
2. It’s Ginormous (and Therefore Useless)
Back in business school, you were taught that business plans had to be thick tomes, 40 pages plus. They needed to be all-inclusive and leave no stone unturned. Fortunately, that rarely applies to small businesses (unless perhaps you are seeking funding from investors), and what you’ve got is overkill. It’s so overwhelming, you never actually take it out to review it. So what’s the point of having it if you don’t use it?
How to Fix It: Try a simpler plan. You may be the only person who ever reads your strategic plan, and that’s okay. But you want it to be readable and comprehensible, and that starts with simplicity. Stick to the basics, and don’t strive for length. Just get to the point.
3. You Never Look at It
Maybe you developed a fantastic business plan…5 years ago. Likely a few things have changed since then. A plan should be a living, working document that you regularly review (try for 2-4 times a year) and modify as needed.
How to Fix It: Blow the dust off that thing and take a look at what you’ve got. Probably the structure can stay the same, but if you’ve pivoted in your product offerings or otherwise changed company goals, those need to be reflected in the business plan.
4. It’s Not Actionable
Maybe you stuffed your plan with $10 words and filled it with fluff. You read it and don’t have a clue about what to do next.
How to Fix It: Amend that plan with action items. If you established a goal of becoming a $1 million company, set up steps for how you can make that a reality. These need to be achievable and measurable steps so that the next time you review your strategic plan you can actually see how far (or not) you’ve come toward achieving those goals.
Having a manageable and updated business plan or strategic plan is what keeps your business on track toward achieving those goals you’ve set for yourself. So keep it simple, keep it updated, and keep it nearby so you can refer to it regularly.