Are you starting a business? It’s time to plan

Many people have great ideas, but how do you harness that entrepreneurial spirit to turn that idea into a business? The first step to success all lies in the planning.

Good planning is the foundation of business success. Whether it’s understanding how to tick all the boxes from a regulatory perspective to preparing your financial forecast; planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches.

In fact, research shows that having a business plan doubles a small business’ chance of success, so why do so many business owners forge ahead without one? Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away by the passion for your project, but doing your research and coming up with an outline for your company will save you time and money.

The what and the why

Don’t be overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a massive document. Break your business plan into sections and you’ll find it easier to manage. First, consider the purpose of your plan. Is it to seek finance? Is it to outline your goals?

Financers look more favourably on new businesses that have a thorough business plan. It helps them to better understand your business and shows that you’ve considered your competitors, done your research and forecasted your cash flow. Your marketing plan should also be included to show you’ve thought about how you will attract new customers and grow the reach of your business.

If it’s a purpose that you’re after, nothing quite hones a vision like a well-crafted business plan. It can map your direction, define your why and point towards the way forward for your business for the months and years to come. You can work out your goals and set time frames for when you want to achieve them. It can also help you prioritise and consider any possible obstacles to your dream.

Do your homework

You don’t operate your business in isolation, so it’s vitally important when putting together your plan to consider outside factors that may affect your business. Spend time doing your homework on your industry, the existing market conditions and any other businesses you might see as competition.

Explore any challenges you think you might face and work out strategies to avoid them. Focus on how you can maximise your opportunities to grow and strengthen your business.

It’s not set in stone

Lastly, it’s important to remember your business plan is a living document. It’s not set in stone and you should review and revise it over time. Doing this will remind you of your goals and priorities. It can be easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are swamped in the minutiae of the day-to-day.

A business plan will ensure you keep your eyes on the pathway to success.