Check-ups are vital in the maintenance of our valuable objects. We take our teeth in for regular exams and our vehicles in for oil changes and tune-ups. But what about your business plan? By now everyone knows the substantial value of developing a livable, useful business plan, but when was the last time you brought the old gem out and polished it up? Just as your business evolves or even pivots, your business plan should evolve in tandem with your enterprise. If you put energy and effort into scrutinizing your business plan, you may be able to pinpoint your weakness before it undermines you, and you’ll also see where you’ve been successful, encouraging you to forge ahead at that crucial moment. You and and your business are the doctor and the patient, so what do you need to improve your bedside manner?
Schedule Your Check-up
Pick a period of time to review your business plan, be it monthly, quarterly, or biannually and stick with it. If you review monthly, you may be able to do it in smaller chunks and you may be able to create a more agile document. Quarterly may be the sweet spot for most small businesses, as you can piggyback it onto similar tasks such as reviewing your marketing plan. If your plan is clear and you have been responsible in the past, biannual reviews may offer the opportunity to respond to changes and improvements with flexibility while maintaining continuity.
Keep it Simple
A business plan should be direct and straightforward. It can be fun to craft a manifesto or meander through fields of words if you’re not sure what to say, but you must aim for both clarity and conciseness. Once you have a clear idea of your target, you can aim for it, but if your business plan is poorly conceptualized, you may inadvertently derail yourself. If that’s the case, you may have to start over, but you do have a starting place (unlike those who don’t have a business plan), so appreciate what efforts you have. Review what you have, salvage what works, and identify new information that can help you zero in on your goal. Your business plan needs to be understood by you and your team and have a clear purpose for moving your business forward. Conceptualize your goals and identify the actions you need to take to actualize those goals, keeping in mind the simpler the better.
Consistent efforts create better results. Just like weight-lifters use persistent exercise to train their bodies, business owners must take continual action to nurture their businesses. A disciplined approach to sculpting your business plan will keep you on your toes. One great thing about maintaining and adhering to scheduled reviews is that you may hone your business plan to such sharpness that you rarely have to make adjustments to it. On the other hand, simply reviewing with it regularity keeps you focused and engaged. How many projects have you started and left incomplete? Consistent effort will help you create inertia that will support you during challenging times. If you build the review of your business plan into your business practices, you will see tremendous results as you engage with the blueprint of your business and calibrate your vision.
All the reviewing, considering, and planning is meaningless if it is not followed by concrete and measurable action. It can be challenging to take a goal and break it down into all of its working parts, but this is where consistency comes into play. Your response to the review of your business plan must result in ACTION. You can read all the books you want about exercise and make the most carefully rendered plan, but if you don’t walk a single mile or pick up a weight, your proposal is for naught. You can review your business plan endlessly, but if it doesn’t spur you to action, you may need to ask yourself some hard questions, but first do something!