Once upon a time, I overheard a conversation between two entrepreneurs. One asked the other if he had a business plan. I cringed when I heard the other man answer “I did it myself when I first opened my restaurant 10 years ago.” It wasn’t the fact that he had drafted his own business plan that I took issue with. His café had been open for 10 years.
You see, a business plan is a living, breathing thing. It doesn’t have to be taken care of like a plant or a puppy, but it does need to be kept up to date.
The Song That Never Ends
A business plan is always future focused. As your business evolves, you will want to make changes to your plan. By keeping it current, you’ll continue the investment you made when you first crafted it. You’ll never be done writing your business plan—ever.
But don’t let this discourage you. Accepting this fact is the first step in keeping your ‘baby’ growing. The second is to figure out ways to keep your business plan relevant. I recommend the following:
- Schedule updates. At the very least, you should be updating your business plan once a year. But my suggestion is that you give it a once over quarterly. 12 months is a long time, and it is easy to forget about ideas that you had for your business in January if you’re updating your plan in November.
- Review each part. Updating a 20-page business plan might seem a bit overwhelming. By splitting your updates into different tasks, it will be a little easier. If you read my recent blog on the parts of a business plan, then you know there are four. When reviewing for relevancy, make sure you update:
- Your objectives. Do you still have the same goals?
- Your financial section. Have your finances changed?
- Your operational section. What new capital have you acquired?
- Your marketing section. Are you keeping up with changing markets?
- Hand it off.
- If you’re not using your business plan to get a loan, then it’s possible you’re the only person who will look at it. That makes sense when you think about why it exists—to help YOU grow YOUR business. But having someone give it a once-over is a great way to keep your plan relevant. Your trusted person will be able to point out things that you never noticed, find holes, and give guidance.
With a more relevant plan in hand, you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level. Keep defining new goals, revising, restrategizing, and rebuilding. You’ve got this!
And – if you want help with your business plan, let’s work on it together. I can coach you thru your business plan.