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Business planning: what do you plan for and how do you do it?

Whether you’re just starting to consider your business goals for the first time or need a little help getting back on track, business planning is essential to help you achieve your short- and long-term goals. If you don´t know where to start with a business plan, this article is for you. If you tried and it doesn´t seem to be working, this article is also for you. 

Many of us tend to fall into the trap of “all plan and no action”, so to prevent this, here is how to start with business planning and what you can include in your plan. 

3-step guide to business planning

Step 1: formalise your goals

If you don’t know what you want to achieve then you certainly aren’t going to achieve them! So the first step in creating a business plan is to formalise your goals. Think about where you want to be in a few years´ time. What tasks will make the biggest impact?

Step 2: Buying habits have changed

Once you have set 3-5 goals, the next thing to do is to write them into a business plan. This plan will be your roadmap and get you from where you are now to where you want to be. 

For example, think of big-picture strategic goals, like increasing sales each year or opening an additional production line. And make them as specific and realistic as possible too (think SMART goals). For E.g. I want £1 million + worth of sales in 3 years’ time. If you´re at £200k this year, you will need to increase to £350k next year, £600k the year after, and to £1.1m in the third year.

Step 3: split your goals into actionable steps

There´s only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time. And the same goes for your goals. Don´t look at them as a whole – they are way too big and you´ll get disheartened! What you need to do is to work backward and split your goals into bite-sized chunks.

You should already have annual targets when you set your realistic goals (see example above), now you need to break these down into what you will do quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, and so on. The aim is to create a to-list for yourself that you can tick off as you go. 

The best strategy is to build a series of quarterly mini-plans, where each quarter, you focus on a different goal. For example:

  • Quarterly goal: Increase sales.
  • Activities I need to do to achieve this: marketing, networking, hiring a staff member, etc.
  • Monthly focus: month 1 = networking, month 2 = hiring, month 3 = marketing.
  • Weekly focus: attend a networking event, interview a potential member of staff, spend 10 minutes every day connecting with relevant prospects on LinkedIn, posting valuable content and engaging with others, etc. 

See how this works? It´s easier to work backward from where you want to be (big-picture) to what you have to do to get there (actionable steps). Just be careful with how many to-dos you set yourself each quarter. Too many become overwhelming and unachievable. 

What do you include in your business plan?

Your goals are pivotal when it comes to business planning, but what else needs to be included in this plan? 

You need to understand and define:

  • Goals and targets (and why those are your goals!)
  • Your target market and your ideal customer
  • Your marketing strategy
  • Your operations and processes
  • What team you have and what team you need
  • Your costs, sales prices and predicted profitability
  • Your cashflow and financial plan

Of course, if business planning were that easy, then we wouldn’t need to tell you about it! If you need more guidance with your business planning, we can help you in more practical ways not only to create a solid business plan but to action it too. 

Whether you want to book a place in our business planning workshop (details below) or you´d rather book a one-on-one meeting with us, get in touch today to move your business forward!

Ready to do some business planning?  

Set yourself up for success by business planning for 2023! Join our Business Planning Workshop on the 19th of January to create a solid business plan for the year ahead.

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