Business Planning Tips
Business planning is a complex process. Whether you’re launching a business or upgrading an existing one, you need to have an effective business plan. Learn how to properly strategize for your startup.
The business market is thriving. In the US, there’s been a significant increase in the number of individuals applying for new business. The number of business owners reached 1.1 million in 2020, a dramatic12% increase since 2007. Despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a steady recovery in the entrepreneur community. More people are taking the risk and opportunity to start a business.
With that said, the business climate is still unpredictable. You not only have to keep up with the growing number of competing brands, but you also have to consistently adjust to the ever-changing environment. This means you must come prepared to face inevitable challenges.
Although the future is uncertain and ambiguous, you can still make calculated moves on the situation at hand. You start by creating a solid business plan.
Why do you need a business plan?
One of the basic things you need in starting a company is a business plan. It serves as your roadmap in navigating the whole entrepreneurial journey. It’s something you can use as a reference in making major business decisions and also an essential document when you’re pitching to investors.
But what exactly is it?
A business plan is a written document that contains all the details about your business; its objectives, processes, and long-term goals. It serves as a guide for the company on how to manage current operations and execute plans. The business plan doesn’t have to be complex, but it needs to be comprehensive enough to guide you in meeting your goals.
Tips on Business Planning
When it comes to business planning, it pays to be proactive. On top of your business plan, there are other areas you can study and develop further. Here are some tips:
1. Create a coherent business strategy
It’s much simpler to describe what you want to happen than how you want it to happen. Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of not strategizing properly. It’s understandable, given how tedious it is to come up with solutions to so many problems. That’s why you need a strong business strategy.
A business strategy is your company’s long-term plan. It allows you to look into all the details of running your operation. In creating your business strategy, you evaluate your business goals, objectives, the products or services you want to offer, and the demographics you want to sell to. This will guide you on project prioritization and other activities your company plans to hold. The details of your business strategy will be included in your business plan.
These are the key points in building your strategy:
- Vision and Objectives. Enumerate the business’ goals in a certain period and list the details on how to achieve them. Make sure these are concrete and achievable goals. Specify the timeline, the metrics, and the methods you will use to meet these goals.
- Core values. In establishing your company’s culture, you have to identify your core values. This takes into mind how you should approach people and situations as a company. Having certain convictions will create the right boundaries at work, which in turn creates a harmonious environment.
- Strengths and weaknesses. Identify what areas of your operations need improvement and which ones must be maximized to promote growth. You can conduct a SWOT analysis to capitalize on your strengths and eventually eliminate the recurring issues in your system.
- Efficiency. Determine where to correctly allocate resources for your operations. This includes assigning all the working roles in the company, the budget, the facilities, and all other assets. By systematically organizing each aspect, you increase productivity.
- Prioritization. Which company projects should come first? By assessing which activities are urgent and which ones can follow, you can make faster progress. Prioritize tasks by importance, size, and urgency.
2. Track your funds
From the moment you raise enough capital to launch your business, you need to consistently track your budget. This is crucial when you’re just starting so every penny counts. This way, you’ll make no unnecessary expenses, and you’ll be able to grow your operations faster.
Budgeting is also important if you want to upscale. Invest in resources that directly affect customer experience. For example, equipment upgrades will enhance customer service and will make your staff more productive.
3. Observe customer behavior
Customers are the driving force of your profits. To keep them comin, you’ll have to regularly update your services based on their preferences. Through the years, you’d probably earn a good number of patrons, so be mindful of them. Build genuine relationships with your customers to get valuable insights.
Furthermore, with the right strategies in place, your customers can also become your brand advocates. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, so use it to your advantage.
4. Plan for your employees
Your employees play a big part in the success of your business. Hence, you also have to plan for their growth to ensure they’re in it for the long run. Employee turnover is a hassle and will pile up in cost over time. It’s also not a good experience losing talent to your competitors.
Come up with good retention strategies and implement them as you expand your operations. These strategies may include career growth opportunities, incentives, training or education support, and a performance-based salary increase.
5. Build with growth in mind
One of the most important things to remember in business planning is to build your business with growth in mind. Consider the scalability of your startup when you’re initially assembling it. Your website, for example, you must build a reliable foundation that’s easy to upgrade or change in the future. Likewise, with your other application and software tools, can they handle a heavier workload?
Ensure that all areas of your business have the potential to grow. You could also enlist the help of your startup cofounders to come up with more efficient ways to organize things. You can bounce ideas from an equally creative mind who shares the same goal as you.
6. Prepare for the worst
Rainy days will always come, so, bring your umbrella. Preparing for the worst circumstances will give you the best outcome. A big part of business planning is to come up with a Plan B when things go haywire. Prepare your exit strategy, business contingency plan, business continuity plan, and take all other measures for risk management. This will help you navigate through rough times, so you will not end up failing worse and extending the damage.
Build your Startup with Full Scale
Building a business is not an easy undertaking. If you’re new to entrepreneurship, your best bet is to find mentors who can show you the ropes. There are plenty of startup accelerators you can apply for to get the much-needed training. Or you can sign up for conferences, seminars, and other gatherings that will allow you to network. The key is to immerse yourself in the business market and learn how things go.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to ask for help from industry experts. Full Scale, for one, specializes in helping small businesses achieve their full potential. We offer a wide array of startup services to improve business operations. Whether you need help in business planning or taking on a new business project, we’ve got the professionals for the job! Want to learn more? Contact us today!