An interesting recent article from Tire Review discusses the value of a business plan after the establishment phase of a business.

Established businesses also need business plans, because the questions you need to answer as a start-up often get forgotten in the daily endeavors of running a business. In reality a little time spent asking again some basic questions can trigger new opportunities, greater freedom or both.

business plan article 2When you are already in business you most probably have your business strategy already in hand and things have been running along just fine. And if you are not a start-up trying to raise capital anymore, you might wonder why would you need a new business plan now?

If you have financed the establishment of your business not from your own pocket, you have most probably been required at some point to prepare a business plan – both bankers and investors ask to see a plan before agreeing on funding your business. Also, even if you did not need to raise capital to start your business, you were possibly rational enough to prepare a plan just for yourself.

However, even though you did prepare a business plan at a certain time, chances are you did not update it since then.

1. Might feel uncomfortable

Writing a formal business plan often makes you consider important questions about your business, answering which may make you feel not at ease. You will remember all of the things you said you would do, but did not manage to actually complete. The numbers, which you forecasted with confidence, may now make you question your thoughts at the time you wrote the plan. There is no need to worry though, since many business owners feel the same way.

Your first business plan is a representation of your best hopes at that point in time. You now however have something real against which you can compare it. By rewriting your business plan, you are not really starting from scratch. And if you have never written one, developing a business plan will be pretty easy once that you are already in the business. There will be much less guessing than before you had experience and now your numbers will be much more realistic.

If you are asking yourself why you would want to write a new business plan, or to even update your old one, the answer is not so much planning, but more thinking. A business plan would simply serve you as a framework to focus ideas and innovation more easily.

2. Having a new look at your old plan

business plan articleThere are a few common components of typical business plans, which represent points of focus on current challenges you may be facing. By reworking the key elements of your business in your head, you will gain a clearer awareness of it.

It will help you understand exactly what you need to focus on and help you develop a plan for growth.

3. Typical Business Plan

Q1: Describe your business and the products or services you plan to offer.

How does the answer to this question today differ from the day you started?

What have you learned in the interim that might have caused a shift, if any?

How involved did you plan on working in the day-to-day operation of your store or stores?

When rewriting this section of the business plan, it is important to focus on your role as the owner of a business that sells tires and service rather than someone who actively manages the process. It may not be possible for you to extricate yourself from the process right away, but remember this is a business plan not a contract. Plan what you want to do with your business – and your life – in this exercise.

Q2: Who are the players in your company and what roles do they fill?

As you list the players, make a note beside each name as to what percentage of their efforts requires input from you.

If you have to tell people to do everything that you want to be done, you might feel important (indispensable) in your role as the head, but it is a quick ticket to entrepreneurial insanity. You will be trapped in your important role and will have no freedom to do your own work.

As you rewrite this section of your plan, it is important to think about those who require the most and the least handholding. If you can remember, make a list of the last five questions each of them has recently asked you. Then, for each question, ask yourself, if you had a policy or system to which the employee could have referred before the question was asked, would you have had to be involved at all?

Can you think of policies you could write down that would eliminate a high percentage of your involvement with the kinds of questions you deal with daily?

It may not seem like much when you are at the starting stage of your business, but what will happen later when you expand? To whom would the employees go for answers? This is the key to growth. It is the difference between owning a business and owning an asset.

Q3: What is your growth strategy? How large is your market?

Reviewing this topic will make you look at the subject with a different set of eyes than you did when you first wrote your business plan. It is possible that your vision was too narrow and focused. There is nothing wrong with that in a start-up – not many people are capable of broad vision at that phase.

As you look at your growth strategy, what are the possibilities?

Can you duplicate what you are doing in other locations? This is the most typical expansion model, but it may or may not be the most profitable path for you. If you do this, you will need to have the systems down perfectly.

Can you expand what you are doing and develop a whole new set of customers?

With expanded profit centers, the need for written systems is increasingly necessary. Growth without systems can be very expensive.

business plan article 34. New Eyes

Digging out that old business plan and looking at it with new eyes may clear a bit of the insanity with which you are living in keeping your business going today. Reviewing the plan with an experienced entrepreneurial mindset, thinking strategically, you are likely to see your business as potentially much larger than you ever have before.

If you do not have a plan to dig out and think it might be a good time to put one together.

Article source: Tire Review