A Business Plan is essential for every start-up social firm or indeed for any business.
For the entrepreneur, it often seems like a tiresome and unnecessary administrative task, after all, your fabulous idea is in your head, isn’t it, and you know what it is, don’t you?
But a Business Plan is a powerful tool: in fact is the entrepreneur’s foremost secret weapon.
- Does your business work?
Writing your plan out makes you sure how your business will work. It focusses your mind on the realities – and the ambition. You can see connections that you might otherwise have missed – if your sales target is 10,000 widgets in the first year, how many widget makers and sales people do you need? Can you find ways that will be better – working through other distributers or concentrating on bulk sales?
- Understand how your business is put together
Writing the plan gives you a better understanding of how your business is put together. Knowing that all the aspects really do work together will give you confidence to talk about it to other people. You will need to be convincing to a range of people from suppliers, customers, local stakeholders and funders, so convince yourself first with the Business Plan.
- Driver for the future
The Business Plan will remind you where you are going. Your Business Plan will have specific goals that you have decided to work to – and that means that you know where to focus your energies, what actions will get results, and when to step up the action. It also creates targets for employees – you can be clear about what is needed from each person.
- Create milestones
Your plan will have marketing and operational milestones that will get you to your goals. Whether you are still setting up the business or it is already operational, the plan helps you monitor progress. You can compare progress against the milestones in the Business Plan – is something done ahead of time, or behind time? Comparing progress against milestones will help you define the next plan – do you need more or less time for particular activities.
Once your Business Plan is in place – and you are reviewing it on a regular basis against milestones, you have created a valuable communication tool. It doesn’t just communicate your ideas and your progress, but also confidence in your plan. It makes it easier for you to talk about your business in general: what it needs, what it will do, and it makes it easier for you to communicate the detail to others, by giving them a copy, or giving a presentation. It tells the world that you understand your business and can deliver results.
Author: Social Firms England