December is the perfect month to start updating your business plan for the coming year.
It’s fairly common knowledge that every new startup should have a business plan in place before “launching” their business or asking for financing. This plan should include tangible goals, a statement of financial projections, a strategy to complete those goals, and an estimated timeline for these goals. Your business plan is something that will not only help you and your team stay on track and motivate you, but is also required by lending institutions or investors as a prerequisite of financing approval.
A typical business plan would include the following elements:
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Business Description & Vision
- Definition of the Market
- Description of Products and Services
- Organization & Management
- Marketing and Sales Strategy
- Financial Management
However, many businesses fail to see the benefit of updating their business plan each year.
As your business grows, goals need to be re-prioritized and strategies need to be adjusted due to economic factors, consumer demands, changing technology or employee development, department growth or attrition. Without an updated plan, businesses cannot have an accurate picture of the health of their operations or set attainable and measurable goals for the coming year.
Since many use the calendar year to measure successes, failures or financial losses, December is the perfect opportunity to update those goals for the coming year.
This is one of the reasons December is the official National Write a Business Plan Month.
To learn more about writing your business plan, tips and benefits turn to the resources of:
- the U.S. Small Business Administration website (SBA.gov), or
- this article published by SmallBizTrends.com: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/12/write-a-business-plan-month.html.
If you’re a small business owner in the Twin Cities market area, or are thinking about starting your own small business in Minnesota, we highly recommend looking to the local resources of Robert Voss; owner of BizOwner Training LLC. Bob Voss is sought after expert on starting and running a successful small business in Minnesota; no matter the segment. He provides free training through the Minnesota Workforce Centers strategically placed around the Twin Cities as well as certification courses offered through Dakota County Technical College. Bob teaches the benefits of a good plan, those elements that should be included, and how to construct an appealing plan that will be easy for you and your team to follow as well as present for strategic financing options.
No matter what resources you turn to, keep these 7 tips in mind when you start compiling your individual business plan:
- Outline your business plan – this is a high-level overview of your plan that is easily discovered and understood by those reading your plan
- Write your plan in detail – use the headings of your outline bullets to create “chapters” within your report
- Review the plan – check for accuracy and completeness. Make sure any questions that may be asked about your business is covered within a “chapter” of your business plan.
- Create the final draft – only after receiving all feedback and addressing all questions or concerns from those who you may have polled about your business plan proposal.
- Recheck the finalize plan – again for accuracy, completeness, and general grammatical correctness.
- Construct a cover letter – to accompany the business plan. Your cover letter should introduce yourself and your business, as well as a reason for your presentation of it to the reader.
- Get ready to present and start up your business!
So, now that you know, you should start sketching out your business plan today and setting up your New Year’s Resolutions!
And, if your plan includes any digital marketing goals in the new year, reach out to Back2Basics to see how we can help you achieve your updated goals and keep moving forward!