Businesses typically seek a number of things – growth, stability, impact, certainty, and much more. Successful, stable businesses are able to tick all of these boxes, and then some, without needing to rely solely on luck and opportunism. They can attribute a significant part of their success to having a robust business plan in place.
Your business plan provides a framework for success, and evolves with the business from start-up and growth phases, all the way through to the sale or succession of the business several years down the line. Read on to find out the impact of a thoughtful and considered business plan, and what it can do for your business through those critical early stages and beyond, and setting you up for success.
Business Plans in the Start-Up Phase
A business plan should be in place long before you commence operations. It seems a bit of a no-brainer, but plenty of wide-eyed entrepreneurs jump in head-first without one. Having a thorough business plan documented gives you greater certainty around various aspects of the business – financial, operational, etc., and you can then align your expectations with that. The business planning process itself is a great testing bed for business ideas and ensures that there is real logic behind them.
Thorough planning also makes the often-tricky initial phase of business ownership that much easier, putting you in the most appropriate structure, reducing nasty surprises (some of which can be costly), and having plenty of time-consuming legwork done ahead of time.
Documented business plans are also crucial in securing upfront investment. Lenders reviewing your application for a business loan, will want to see that you have given appropriate consideration to the financial aspects of the business (revenue projections, costs, capacity to repay loans etc.) before lending any capital. Similarly, if you are seeking financial backing from an investment group or a venture capitalist, they too will want to see a plan, often in the form of a pitch deck. No matter your ideal source of upfront capital, a business plan is a non-negotiable in securing it.
Business Plans in the Growth Phase
So, you’ve navigated the start-up phase of your business, and now you’re looking to keep everything on track. If your business plan is as thorough as it should be, you’ll now have a guide to stability.
Where the initial phase leans on a business plan for financial projections, over time the focus will likely shift more to the operational side. Your business plan should be a reference tool for guidance on marketing (e.g. seasonal promotions, customer profiling, marketing tools), operations (e.g. organisational chart, management responsibilities, licensing requirements), and even legal considerations (e.g. risk assessment, intellectual property, council approvals).
It is important to note that a good business plan is a living document –it doesn’t stand still. It should be reviewed regularly, allowing for business growth, a changing industry, evolving customer needs or expectations, and new opportunities. Pivoting your business and updating the document ensures you have a structured and thorough playbook by which your business can operate, even as things change.
Business Plans in the Succession or Exit Phase
Succession and/or exit planning is rarely at the top of any business owners’ list of things to do, particularly in the early stages. However, careful planning can make your exit from the business as smooth and profitable as possible. If you sell your business, a robust business plan and records to demonstrate its effectiveness can assist in maximising the sale price you receive, and ensure that those coming into the business have a plan for the present and the future. If you’re planning on handing your business over to the next generation, or senior member/s of staff, it serves as a documented guide on how the business is structured, relevant operational information, strengths, targets and more.
Bringing Thorough Plans into Your Business
At People + Partners, our Advisory team combine their collective experience to the benefit of our clients’ businesses – and we can do the same for you. We’ll help you establish a thorough and actionable business plan to set your business on the road to success, and work alongside you to keep you on track.
No matter what stage your business is at, there’s we can assist – get in touch today on +61 2 9093 1311 or contact us via our website.