Looking Forward - What to Consider When Updating Your Business Plan

When it comes to preparing or updating your business plan, there are a number of key considerations you need to make. A business plan is the one document that helps guide all of the activities you will strive to achieve over the coming years. With such an important shadow cast upon this document, it’s important to be measured and focused when updating your plan. For tips on what to consider when updating your business plan, consider the following.

Format is key

A business plan is like the profile for your business. It should be in a format that you are proud to present to anyone looking to learn more about where your business is heading. Take the time to research all the different approaches on how to write a business plan. Pay particular attention to the layout and design of the document. If you’re in a position to attract investors or new clients, then your business plan should be the shiny silver bullet. Preparing to update your business plan with that situation in mind can only lead to success in the long term.

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Scan the horizon

When you are updating your business plan, don’t rush. Take the time to scan the horizon for all of the new innovations, technologies or political changes that may impact your industry in the long term. The business plan should have strategies in place to capitalise on any market shifts or new developments. Your business plan should be as concerned about future opportunities as it is with current business optimisation and continuous improvement. Great business plans have one eye firmly fixed in the future so that they are prepared for all eventualities. That doesn’t mean ignoring the now but merely ensuring you can capitalise on new opportunities.

Consultation, not isolation

No great business plan was ever updated or created in isolation by one stakeholder, in one room. Business planning is about involving the entire team in the process. How else can you hope to involve all of the subject matter experts for their valuable input? Even as a leader in your business, you will only have so much insight into individual business units. Take the time to uncover what’s truly important to each area and their vision for the business into the future.

Be open to change

Business plans are fantastic documents to help inspire and lead your people. A common mistake, however, is to make them too stringent or strict. A great business plan should be well defined but iterative. Agile businesses in today’s markets are able to adapt plans to meet the market, rather than being left behind, tied to a plan that won’t work. When updating your business plan, be specific but always come back to your plan regularly and ask yourselves whether the current plan is suitable or whether you need to pivot. A pivot isn’t a change in scope, but merely a shift in direction. It might be the case that your core focus is the same, but your primary product or service has shifted slightly. Without an agile mindset going into planning, you can get stuck in an unyielding path.

Updating your business plan is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of any business. The buzz and anticipation for the plan to lead the business into the future are like a breath of fresh air. Taking the time to polish the document, do your research and involve a wide array of stakeholders are just a few of the best tips for what to consider when updating your business plan.

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