Business planning is vital in ensuring your business survives and grows. These days there are a number of ways you can put together a business plan. In this short blog we’ve highlighted some of the possible options open to you.
The obvious place to start is the 'do it yourself' strategy. If you're completely new to this you will need some help with the structure.
Free online templates
Templates have the obvious advantage in that they don’t cost anything and are freely available on the internet. They also have the benefit that you don’t have to set specific planning sessions to complete the exercise, you can pick them up, work on them and put them down as often as you like. However, this also has the disadvantage that it is just as easy to put them down and forget them!
Business planning software
There are now a number of business planning software packages available offering sample plans and examples to work from. Whilst these can often be a reasonable approach, some can be rather costly and there is still the requirement for the company to put together the plan by themselves.
Obviously we’re a little biased here as it is a service we offer, however we strongly believe it is by far the best option to deliver a robust business plan. If we didn't believe there was a need, we wouldn't offer the service.
Whilst there is a cost and time element required, the presence of a consultant experienced in business management can make a huge difference to your plan and therefore to the future of your business.
There will always be that element of not wanting someone from outside telling you how to run your business, but that isn't how a good consultant works. An experienced consultant will ask questions and work with you to find the right solutions. By finding the solutions yourself, there is a far greater chance you will commit to them.
When a company decides to produce their own business plan, it often becomes a form filling exercise in that the company just answers the questions on the template in front of them. True business planning exercises can be far more productive, a good consultant can ask those questions that can alter the way you look at your business. These sessions can sometimes be tough and challenging, but when done properly will often lead to the company having a far greater understanding of where it currently sits, and from there where the future lies.
One other advantage of using a consultant is that of continued engagement with the plan. Too often a business plan is completed and then put into a drawer and forgotten until the following year when the process is repeated.
A business plan should be a dynamic process, it’s the base for all the strategies you put together. A good consultant won’t just offer a business plan service, they will also offer regular follow up sessions to ensure the plan is being followed, and where necessary help you tweak the plan to suit changes in the company or the market. Just because everyone should write a business plan every year, doesn’t mean it should just be seen as an annual event.
Delta Blue was formed to provide support and advice to start ups and SME's.
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