Planning for Success

iStock_000015370336LargePlanning is one of the most important aspects of a business. If you are not preparing yourself for what’s ahead, you may find yourself lost at some point, heading down a wrong road, or making poor decisions with little information. Unfortunately, some business owners do not see the benefit in having a business plan, and while some have been lucky enough to get by without one, it is still well worth your time to plan out the future of your business. Don’t fall for excuses like planning is time consuming or planning gets in the way of profit making time. Some of the most important reasons for business planning are:

Setting specific objectives and goals: Planning will keep you on track and provide clarity in times of trouble. Your business plan is a roadmap, a timetable, and a blueprint for your business. It will allow you, as a business owner, to examine where you are and be  confident you are where you should be. Seeking investment, financing: Your business plan is your business resume. If you are looking for financing, you will need to do your homework first. This is where your business plan comes into play. It provides information to potential investors on the business itself, the research you used, and your business goals.

Provides a clear statement of your business mission and vision: This will allow others to know where you want your business to be, and how you’re going to get there.

Allows you to analyze your business as well as the market overall: When making a large investment of time and money on a business, you want to put a lot of effort into researching the actual business and its surroundings. The  business plan will compel you to observe your competition, investigate opportunities, forecast your businesses future as well as the economy, and study your strengths and weaknesses.

Provides a description of your business model: How do you plan to make money? How do you plan to stay profitable?

Deciding to  grow: Whether you are considering renting a space, hiring employees, or purchasing new equipment, your business plan will allow you to look at your finances versus your needs to see if both can be met.

With these reasons in mind, you will build a business plan that is a never-ending document. Your plan is something you never want to complete. It is something you will want to keep open and add to in a year’s time, or change six months down the road. The ongoing process of planning will always keep you on your toes and ensure you are prepared, for you are the future of your business.

For too many, the business plan can be intimidating. It may seem beyond your expertise. However, you can make creating your business plan less scary by focusing on only one section at a time. Once you have finished one section, move onto the next.

One final piece of advice, don’t stress! NLOWE has Business Advisors located all over Newfoundland and Labrador. The advisors can   help you work through your business plan and they will also meet with you to offer one-on-one confidential business counseling,  information on sources of financing, and referrals to other business-related programs and services available.

Planning for Success is an article from the NLOWE’s first annual publication, The NLOWE Advisor.  Visit the www.nlowe.org/thenloweadvisor view The NLOWE Advisor online.

Staff-Lindsay-Lindahl Staff-Joanne-Rowe-NEWLindsay Lindahl and Joanne Gillis are Start-up Business Advisors with NLOWE.  You can reach Lindsay at llindahl@nlowe.org and Joanne at jgillis@nlowe.org.

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