When you began dreaming about starting your company, one of the first tasks you completed was probably to write a business plan. Although it may have felt as if you could check that job off your list, the fact is that a good written description of your business and its goals is a dynamic document.
As the year comes to a close, it’s time to re-evaluate so that you can start 2019 off on the right foot.
Compose a Short Summary
Although your entire plan might require a longer document, it’s important to craft a concise description of what your company continues to be, as well as the need it’s meeting. This is where you answer the implicit question of how you address a concern or serve a particular population. This document should leave the reader wanting to know more.
Describe Your Business Model
You need to be clear, both to yourself, and to customers and investors, about how you are going to make money. What products or services are you selling and to whom? How will you keep existing patrons and cultivate new ones as your business grows?
Provide a Sales Forecast
Your plan needs to illustrate how you will continue to market your products and services. If there are certain lead generation or marketing strategies that have succeeded for you in the past, furnish details. Since your plan is as much about the future as the past, also include industry trends and benchmarks that will give your predictions credibility.
Make a Funding Request
Unless you are independently wealthy, you will probably be gearing this document toward investors. If you are making a funding request, be sure that it calibrates well with the financial statements you provide, and be clear about exactly where investors’ money will be going. People will not be interested in buying in if there is not a clear Use of Funds section.
Update and Rewrite
Keep in mind that your business plan is a dynamic document. Just as you aren’t using the same credit card terminal that you had a decade ago, your plans and forecasts should also change and be in line with the times. That also applies to your financial outlook, which you should re-examine and tweak annually. To that end, don’t let your first draft be your last. Rewrite and update with the times. Your document should evolve right along with your business and as colleagues and competitors add their input into the mix.
The end of the year is a great time to simultaneously look backward and forward. While change isn’t always comfortable, it’s a necessary part of doing business. Embrace it, and make sure your business plan reflects the progress you have made, as well as the goals you are looking to achieve.