3. Failing to plan

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

As an entrepreneur, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges and obstacles that come with starting a business. It’s a journey that requires not only dedication and hard work but also careful planning and strategic thinking. Research suggests that businesses with a solid plan are 50% more likely to succeed, so having a well-thought-out business plan will not only increase your chance of success but it can evolve as your business grows.

Now imagine a future where you have a clear roadmap to success. Visualise the growth, the achievements, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re on the right path.

WHY A ‘LIVING’ BUSINESS PLAN?

One of the biggest mistakes that many entrepreneurs make is treating their business plan as a one-time document that sits on a shelf and collects dust. A business plan should be a living, breathing document that evolves as your business does. It should outline your goals, strategies, and tactics, and provide a roadmap for success.

A well-crafted business plan serves as a guide for decision-making, helping you stay focused on your objectives and navigate through challenges. It provides a clear direction for your entrepreneurial journey and minimises risks by outlining potential pitfalls and how to overcome them. Without a plan, you are essentially navigating in the dark, leaving your business vulnerable to failure.

TRUST THE RESEARCH – IT’S EVIDENCE THAT THIS WORKS!

Numerous studies have shown that businesses with a well-thought-out plan are significantly more likely to succeed. According to a research study conducted by the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs who take the time to create a business plan are 50% more likely to achieve startup success compared to those who don’t.

The act of planning forces you to acquire knowledge about your industry, target market, and competition. This knowledge allows you to make informed decisions and proactively address potential challenges. It also helps you identify opportunities and develop strategies to capitalize on them. By investing time and effort into planning, you are taking a proactive approach to your business, setting yourself up for long-term success.

GUIDING YOU THROUGH STRATEGIC PLANNING

Strategic planning is a crucial component of any successful business plan. It involves setting clear objectives, identifying key performance indicators, and developing strategies to achieve your goals. Strategic planning enables you to align your resources and efforts toward the most important priorities, ensuring that every action you take moves you closer to success.

To create an effective strategic plan, start by defining your long-term vision and mission:

  • What is the ultimate goal of your business? Think deeper than financial gain, for example, what problem are you solving?
  • What are your values and what do you aim to achieve? Make these clear as this will keep you motivated.
  • Once you have a clear vision, break it down into manageable short-term and medium-term goals.
  • TIP – These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound, emotional, and rewarding (SMARTER).
  • (Watch this 2-minute YouTube clip that outlines the SMARTER framework).
  • Overall, this plan will help you track your progress and make adjustments as you grow and evolve.

Next, conduct a thorough analysis of your industry, target market, and competition. Understand the trends, opportunities, and challenges that exist in your market. Identify your unique value proposition and competitive advantage. This knowledge will inform your strategies and tactics, helping you differentiate yourself from competitors and attract customers.

Finally, develop a roadmap that outlines the action steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Assign responsibilities, set deadlines, and regularly review and update your plan as your business evolves. Remember, a strategic plan is not set in stone but should be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

THE SOLUTION:

Don’t worry, we’ve got you and I promise this isn’t daunting. Do our FREE business plan eLearn, complete with a business plan template, which you can find here (obviously will provide a link to a page of ‘resources’.