Friday, April 18, 2008

Business Plans: Five Ways to Benefit From Your Road Map

Is your business running according to your plan? What, no plan? Or perhaps you have a plan but haven’t looked at it in a while. When is the last time you went on a road trip without a map? You need the same tool in your business.

A business plan, if used properly, can be one of the most effective tools that you will utilize in your business. It is the road map for your present and future business growth. Your business plan is your business road map. It helps you to remember why you started in business, your vision for the future of the company, and the steps you plan to initiate to reach the growth expectations.

How can a plan help? Here are five ways a business plan can benefit you:

  1. It will help you to put in writing your objectives and determine how to implement them.

  2. It is a tool to share with your employees, business ventures, accountant, and others, informing them of your mission, vision, and strategies.

  3. To build upon your strengths in your business and to identify the weaknesses.

  4. To determine your cash flow needs and projections for future growth.

  5. To determine short term goals and long term goals. Short-term being a few months or year, and long-term being 3, 5, or 10 years in the future.

Many people consider starting a business and just jump in. No plan, just talk, and a dream. After the launch of the business they get overwhelmed and cannot remember why they started a business or the original idea. Somewhere along the way they lost their vision.

When you have a plan in writing it helps to keep you focused, track progress, and modify when needed. The results of your business tracking will help you to be aware of what is working and when change is needed. You learn from your experiences and modify when sharp curves are in the distance.

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” Earl Nightingale

If you have not started your plan, find a source and get started. Put your dreams, plans, and vision for your future on paper. Once written, re-evaluate it monthly. Modify when needed and keep it updated.

It may seem overwhelming in the beginning but if you take it one section at a time, your plan will be accomplished in a short time. It will be there to keep you on track and give guidance. It is always better to know where you are headed then to wonder where you have been.

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