How to Plan your Business in 6 Simple Steps
A business without a solid business plan is apt to be directionless, unprofitable and ultimately doomed to failure. Creating and adhering to a business plan enables business owners and leaders to steer their business through good times and bad, helping to ensure that opportunities are taken, pitfalls are avoided and long-term profitability achieved.
As their excellent course 'Time, Task & Planning Skills' demonstrates, business skills training specialists Maguire Training are experts when it comes to helping business owners, leaders and managers with many aspects of planning and time management. In fact, Maguire Training's comprehensive portfolio offers tuition in wide range of the essential management, sales and leadership skills required for success by the twenty-first century businessperson.
The importance of proper business planning should not be underestimated. To help business owners and managers get to grips with this fundamental task, Maguire Training shows you how to plan your business in 6 simple steps.
Step 1: Define what business success means to you
To plan for business success, you have to have an idea of what success is, and this can be different things to different people. For some, success is making enough money to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle or early retirement, for others it be about achieving fame, being recognised as the best in their market sector or being in control of their own destiny.
Step 2: Develop a strategy
You know what your business is and what success means to you, but how do you plan to achieve it? Do you know your target customer, their backgrounds, likes and dislikes? Do you know how you are going to market yourself and how you are going to deliver your products or services? What?s your USP? All of these aspects must form a strategy for your business which is understood by management and employees alike.
Step 3: Identify individual business tasks, assign them and set deadlines
Naturally, the success of your business has to be worked for and your business plan should identify the various tasks and actions which need to be completed to achieve your goals. Tasks should be categorised (sales, marketing, production, finance, recruitment etc.) and ownership assigned to the most appropriate person within your business. The task owner must be entirely accountable for completing their tasks and should be given deadlines to work to.
Step 4: Assign metrics and measure progress towards your business goals
Business planning without measuring results is a pointless exercise. The tasks, actions and goals set out in your business plan should be both measurable and adaptable according to progress. Basic business metrics might include profit and loss, customer volumes, closed sales, time spent on activities and so on.
Step 5: Make realistic financial forecasts for your business
Without sustainable and orderly cash flow there can be no business, so it is vital to forecast income, expenditure and profit figures as accurately as possible, taking into account contingencies for unforeseeable events which might impact the business. Financial forecasts should be monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis so that they may be adapted in accordance with changing business circumstances.
Step 6: Initiate periodic business plan reviews
Your business plan is not a static document to be completed once and filed away for ever. Only by reviewing the current status of your business and comparing it with the forecasts, assumptions, tasks and goals laid out in your original business plan can you see how your business is evolving and address any areas in which changes need to be made.
Business planning is just one of the many subjects in which Maguire Training can equip business leaders, managers and employees with the knowledge, skills and strategies they need in order to succeed in their roles. In addition to conventional classroom-based learning it is also possible for delegates to benefit from courses such as 'Time, Task & Planning Skills' as online training, delivered by Maguire Training's own mobile and E-learning platform.