We know it is true … a good business plan is built with sustainable flexibility.
Companies that adhere to their inherent flexibility are the ones that sustain in the long run. That being said, flexibility is not the only foundation on which a business plan should be laid. A business plan should never be viewed as a task to be checked off the to-do list. It is an ongoing, creative process that requires constant nurturing, adjusting and general attention. Revisiting your business plan at least annually will allow you to make the necessary adjustments and to always remain true to your vision.
There are generally four key areas to examine when filling the gaps:
Services/Product: Take note of customer feedback here and remember to touch base with long- term and new clients to inquire as to your performance. This is a weeding-out process that will help you determine what stays and what goes.
Industry/Competition: Reviewing the changes made in your industry and assessing the strengths and weakness of your competitors can help you bolster your plan of attack. Work on building up your unique assets and incorporate differentiators into your plan.
Marketing/Sales: This is an area that should be under constant scrutiny. If something is not working, make a change. Don’t spend the money unless you can prove the result. Consider bringing in an expert to weigh in on your current methods and help to craft new and creative methods.
Finances: Take a long hard look at the actual numbers. Are you reaching goals? Where can you realistically scale back?
Once you have evaluated these areas, there should be obvious changes to the plan.
As you tackle each section follow these guidelines:
- Services/Products: Narrow the scope, zoom in and then look at the bigger picture.
- Industry/Competition: Take in your surroundings and apply accordingly.
- Marketing/Sales: If it is not broken, don’t fix it. Stick to putting energy into creating solutions.
- Finances: Break out the calculator folks, this is all about equations.
Many experts comment on the importance of creating a “living document” when it comes to your business plan. It should never remain stagnant and should always be evolving. This is how you as the business owner remain accountable and derive direction.