Businesses, new and old, may all benefit from a business plan. Your product or service, the market in which it is sold, and other important elements like income and profit are all explained in detail.
Although many companies lack a defined strategy, maybe because most entrepreneurs see little benefit in crafting a rigorous strategy that becomes outdated in a few weeks.
However, those that reject the notion of planning wholesale risk losing out on a wonderful chance to separate wasteful expenditure, recognise possibilities, and grow into new markets.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional business plan, Sage’s Product Marketing Manager Jonathan Dowden recommends a more dynamic approach to the document.
“Writing a business strategy for a start-up might be pretty perilous,” he explains. “Without data, it’s impossible to predict what will happen. Using standard business planning techniques, the template becomes not an impartial document that assists your company but something that erroneously convinces you the concept will succeed.
When it comes to filling out a template, “it’s also frightening to fill it out articulately in words, with all you know, particularly if you are not accustomed to creating long-form documents—and many company owners will not have done that since they left school or university.”
‘Customer development,’ as corporate strategist Steve Blank describes it, is an option, according to Dowden. The following questions should be asked of you before you begin to list your company’s strengths and weaknesses:
- Who are your consumers, and what do they enjoy? –
- How will you get in touch with them – online, in person, or a combination of both?
- Your products aren’t worth the money.
- What are the activities that will bring in money for the company?
- What resources do you need to complete this task? –
For example, will a bank manager, accountant, or suppliers assist you?
– When all expenditures are taken into account, will you still be able to earn a profit?
“Write down the most basic concepts that come to mind.” With Post-It notes, you can do this in a couple of hours. Next, your theory should be tested on actual people to see whether it can be replicated over time.
Filling out a massive form doesn’t address any of those questions.” According to Dowden, by beginning small, testing, and gathering facts, it is possible to fill in the blanks of what is feasible and what is not.
FTSE 100 corporations and single proprietors on their first day in front of a computer may both benefit from this “sandbox” method of starting a firm. Giants in the field of technology Google,
Most of Amazon and Facebook’s live tests have been put on hold. Nevertheless, the cost of each unsuccessful proposal is tiny compared to the millions of pounds in money generated by the triumphs.
Business plans aren’t a document that tells you what will happen in the future; they’re a collection of principles that will guide you through the process of discovering that future.
Dowden says the method is especially effective during times of significant upheaval.
When the epidemic struck, imagine you were a small-business owner. Putting your company back on the wall is a good first step. Then you can examine your existing sales channels and determine which ones you can adapt to the current climate.
Many potential consumers are exposed to a yoga class, but could it be taken online, and if so, what expenditures would be required to keep them coming back? Taking the company online may need a business-level Zoom account and upgraded audio/visual equipment. It’s important to go back through this procedure every time you come up with a new idea.
Choosing a framework for your strategy that fits your approach to the company is essential. Are you data-driven, or are you more creative when it comes to your work? As far as I know, there isn’t a way to have an accountant build one for you.
You may choose to utilise pen and paper or a word processing document. Still, the software will allow you to fully benefit the agile method since it is simple to capture data and swiftly adjust plans as circumstances change. You may check the accuracy of your forecasts against reality by running reports.
“It’s simple to produce reports that indicate how your firm is operating,” says Dowden of Sage’s value in this area. If you save data digitally, you may use it for various purposes, like company planning, making tax returns, or developing P&L reports to better understand your cash flow.
Having a visual representation of sales and expenses helps you concentrate on profit centres and control overheads, which helps you plan for the future.
What’s the verdict? A business plan isn’t meant to be a static, massive document. Start small, create a business plan, and set attainable objectives. If something isn’t working, try something else.
Sage’s Advice Hub provides more guidance on company planning.