If you have ever searched Google looking for a business plan template or a guide to writing a business plan then you will have come across all number of things purporting to make something simple complicated.
As a former employee of HSBC, we used to joke that HSBC stood for ‘How Simple Became Complicated’ and that was pretty accurate. The thing is that business plans have suffered the same fate.
My video on the 5 minute business plan brings things down to a base level, but if you want to produce a business plan then there are really only 5 essential things to ask yourself.
- What are your goals?
- How will you achieve your goals?
- What is the opportunity?
- How will you measure your success?
- What is your timescale?
Think about it. If you can get a plan in place which covers the above then what else is there?
The Details of a Business Plan
Suggesting a simple one line answer to each of the above really is over simplifying things. However for you as a business owner, your plan is simply a set of directions. The obstacles you encounter on your way will always need to be overcome, but underneath it all it remains essential to have your route marked out.
Don’t worry about the detail until the basics are there. If you can answer the above, and apply some decent reasoning to it then you will have a business plan in place.
If you cannot answer all 5 essential points then don’t worry. However, take the time to talk to people you trust and ask them the same questions but about YOU rather than their business. Chances are they will see the world a little differently, which means new thinking and new ideas.
It Changes Over Time
Just like a set of directions, a business plan will change depending on where you are and where you are going. If you keep a plan simple then it is easier to shape it to new circumstances, it becomes a useful tool rather than something to file away and gather dust.
If you want more information on pragmatic business plans then give me a call on 01293 541333, add your comments above, or contact me via the Lime Consultancy website.
By Dave Farmer