Liz Mclaughlin, an experienced customer service consultant, offers advice on how to create a new business plan for your company, and how to set the right goals for the year ahead.
Whether you’re a new business start-up or a seasoned small business pro, starting the New Year with a business plan is an excellent way to help ensure that your goals become a reality.
Why is a business plan so important?
A business plan is important for several reasons. First, it acts as a roadmap for your business, providing focus, direction and structure. It will keep you on track and will be useful for referring to further down the line. A plan also helps give you a fresh perspective and a new lease of energy. The start of the year is the perfect time to re-assess your business and set things in motion for the upcoming year.
Carry out a SWOT analysis
One way of doing this is to carry out a SWOT analysis. Consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats you may face and include them in your plan.
- Set achievable yet challenging goals to work towards.
- Invite customers to share their feedback on services and ask their opinion to ensure your plan is targeted to your clients’ needs.
7 points to help build your business plan
When you decide to set out your plan, try and stick to the following seven points. This will ensure your plan isn’t vague, overcomplicated or missing out on key areas.
- A Mission Statement – this is the purpose of your business and what you aim to achieve
- A description of your business – this should cover all aspects of your business, describing your service, your products and what makes your business unique
- Any short and long-term goals – make sure to distinguish between these
- Potential customers – who will buy your product or services? Why? This section helps you to focus on the marketing you need
- Competitor analysis – know who you’re up against and identify what makes you unique, then highlight this in your marketing
- Financial analysis – log all the expenses and money you pay out each month, versus a realistic expectation of what you will bring in each month
- Marketing plan – identify all the places you will be able to advertise and market your business
Review and share
If you work with others, it’s really good practice to review or develop your plan as a team. By doing so there will be group ownership, which will inevitably result in greater success. It’s important that all parties are clear as to the objectives of the business, and contributing to the plan will increase their sense of commitment.
For more tips on realising your business goals, make sure to read our business planning advice. We’ve got free expert advice to help you plan your new business ventures.