Saturday, August 18, 2007

Following Your Own Business Plan Can Help Keep You On Track

Copyright © Michael Laleye

Just about every successful business started out with a viable business plan. Many succeeded because they unwaveringly stuck to that plan and others exceeded their anticipated success by tweaking the plan as time went by. While following your business plan can help keep you on track, there may be changes in areas that affect your business that will call for changes in your plan.

Consider your business plan as a road map. In the beginning you were starting at a beginning point and the plan showed the desired destination and the route you planned to take to reach that destination. Following established time lines, you were able to estimate how long it would take to get to each point on the map and by following this map you could stay on line to reach your destination in the prescribed time.

However, along the way you could run into slow traffic or a road washed out by a storm and be forced to take another direction. By looking at the map you can learn where you are and where you want to be and will need to plot different directions in order to make it to the end. If the new route is by way of small towns or areas where there are no freeways, then you may have to adjust your estimated time of arrival at your destination.

A business plan is no different from that map as unexpected things happen that may throw your business off its course and new direction will have to be plotted. Most business plans are established with time lines of one, two five, 10 and more years in advance, and usually count on the status quo to establish their goals along the way. While meeting some of the goals may be easy, unexpected hazards can crop up with plans that far ahead that will cause a need for change.

Consider the business plans of airlines following the disaster of September 11, 2001. No one in the business world could have predicted this type of occurrence and while they were closed for several days, they had to feverishly rewrite their business plans with a new starting point.

While your business plan will help keep you on track to hit specific goals, keep in mind that you plan is written on paper and not carved in stone. You have all the white out you could possibly need and shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Mistakes happen along the way in business and there will be many bumps in the road that may slow you down. Reworking your business plan as the years go on will help you meet some of your original goals as well as establish new ones.

One last thing to keep in mind is that unless you will be using your business plan to apply for a business loan it need not be so technical. Simply a clear list goals and a way to accomplish them in order to take your business to a level that you are happy with financially. Make clear statements such as " In 6 months I want to have 500 visitors a day to my websites, resulting in 20 sales daily." The next phase is how will you go about getting that many visitors? Which specific techniques will you use? based on what methods you choose to create those visitors, you can then ask yourself how long it will take to produce that amount of visitors and how much it will cost(in both time and money). These are all parts of a business plan.

At first you might not even know how much time you need to accomplish your goals. That is ok, trail and error is a factor in any business plan because it will help you to revise and your business plan in the future, so obsitcals are very positive especially if you really learn from your them and get over them.

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