Revising and Refining Your Plan

Since your business and competitive market is always changing, your business plan should change too. Stubbornly hewing to a long-term plan that isn’t working could doom your company. So regularly revise assumptions and growth projections based on real world results. How often should you review your plan? It depends on internal and external circumstances – whether things are rolling along smoothly or if you’ve hit some bumps in the road. A thorough update should be performed at least annually, but financial reviews may need to be done monthly or quarterly. Bottom line? Planning is a continuous process so a business plan is never finished.
Here are a few trigger points for a business plan revision:
  • Looking for investors
    Going beyond friends and family for capital will require refining your plan – particularly the financial projections – to appeal to investors and loan officers who need to assess risks and investment opportunities on a different scale than your relatives might.
  • Reacting to market changes
    Altered client expectations, increased competition, or new regulatory requirements may cause a shift in your company’s direction and profit assumptions.
  • Adding new products or services
    Any significant change or expansion in your business offering requires a new look at your long-term objectives.
  • Achieving milestones
    As you hit and surpass sales and revenue goals, or employment numbers, you’ll need to set new goals, make new projections, and rethink your operations.

Game Plan

  • Set a recurring date on your calendar for an annual business plan review.
  • Commit to a revision of financial goals at the beginning of each quarter.
  • Be objective in comparing your plan’s assumptions to your real world results.
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