Recently, I came across an article with this title that I published in “Bee Culture” – the trade journal – in May 1996. The principles are every bit as true for the small business person today, as they were thirteen years ago. It opened: “Yes; with the emphasis on MAKE. It is the PROCESS OF MAKING the business plan that is important for the small business owner, or owner to be.”
The process is often more important than the output of the plan itself (unless required for financing by your bank, or others, for example, of course). The planning process provides focus:
1. On operations – What business are we really in?
2. On marketing – Who are our customers? What should our market be? How do we define it?
3. On the product line or services provided – Are we doing all the things our customers expect from us?
4. On management and personnel needs – Have we planned for hiring the right people when needed? Do we have a management succession plan?
These are the kinds of questions that need to asked, at least annually, in each business operation. Getting in the habit of making/updating your business plan, regularly, by asking these questions – and taking adequate time to come up with good answers for your specific situation – can better prepare you for the tough times, for example, that many of us face today. If we have done this planning well, regularly, we will be much better positioned to take on the challenges facing us as we move forward.
What do you think?
Dr. Bill – I love to share. I hope you do to. ;-)