When you started your small business several years ago you developed a business plan. Your plan helped you to set priorities, maintain control, and get financing. Your plan was good and you have followed it in growing a successful business. But, now you are not a startup looking for financing and hoping that your products and services will sell. You have added staff, are expanding your service and product lines, and are looking at expanding across the nation. My friend, it is time to update your business plan for 2019. And the same set of tools that helped you write your first business plan will help you make updates so that your plan is appropriate for your growing business.
The three reasons why you need a business plan are the same. You simply need to modify and clarify the plan for your business of today. You can and still should use Liveplan, which you used for your original plan. Let’s look at the pieces of the puzzle.
As you have grown (and changed) you will require a revised overview of your business, including the story of your growth and how your goals have changed. You will be able to take pertinent information from your QuickBooks Custom Reports to highlight your finances. If you are using the Profit First method of bookkeeping, this is an appropriate place to mention that as well. Be sure to write about how you are dealing with produce and service life cycles in order to ensure your continued growth. For example, R&D activities should be mentioned here.
This part of your business plan will be more mature than when you started out. You have a clear idea of whom you sell to and who your competitors are. Much of this section will have to do with how you intend to keep that market share that you have and how you expect to expand that share as well as expand into other markets. You will be able to rely on business intelligence tools that integrate with your QuickBooks system to help with this task.
The first time you used Liveplan to create a business plan you proposed a marketing strategy including cycle of operations, employee and other labor details, estimate of logistics, cost and pricing, and promotional specifics. You have probably modified or totally changed several parts of your strategy in the first few years. Here is where you will present the current approaches and plans for any modifications as you continue to expand.
When you started out there is a good chance that you were the only person mentioned in this section. Today you need to include a full description of who does what on the management end of your expanding business. You will include short bios for each person as well.
This is an appropriate place to provide a bit of history of your finances and your current situation. If you are, in fact, looking to expand, you will include supporting information as to how this will work out. Here, again, is where QuickBooks Custom Reports will come in handy to provide clear and insightful information.
This section will lead your business plan but, like the first time, you will write it after you have put together the rest. Make sure that this is not “just a summary.” Here is where you want to give the reader a glimpse of your vision and your success in bringing that vision to reality. When the reader browses your executive summary you want him or her to be excited about reading the details!
The reasons you are updating your business plan are the same ones that caused you to write on in the first place. For example, you may be looking for financing to expand your business. But, more importantly, this exercise helps you keep on top of business operations. It will help you maintain perspective when the everyday running of your business threatens to drown you in details. Update your business plan for 2019 and keep on top of your business as it grows and prospers.