Business planning

While the importance of planning in a business is vital, many business operators fail to take the time to go through the planning process. Although a business plan may not solve all your problems, it can help. Planning makes you a better manager and makes your company, no matter how large or small, more competitive and more likely to succeed over the long haul.

A business plan takes the thoughts and ideas from your head and puts them on paper where they can be examined and worked with. It is during the development of your business plan that people most often see their mistakes or oversights. Because it is always easier to correct a mistake that has been made on paper than to correct a mistake that has been made in real life, creating a business plan allows entrepreneurs to see and correct mistakes before the business is up and running.

Once the initial business plan is complete and accurate, an entrepreneur will understand what kinds of results are possible with the business venture. If, after careful examination, your business plan shows that you may make a reasonable profit, the decision to go into this business should be reconsidered. In the case that a business does not seem to be profitable, an entrepreneur will recognize that while the time spent on the business plan was intensive, this effort has saved years of grief in entering an unprofitable business. If the business plan demonstrates that the business may be profitable, it can then be taken to the bank or investors for financing the venture.

The business plan can act as a guide as to what needs to be done and when in order to move the business from the conceptual stage to the reality of a successfully operating business. In this way, the business plan is an action plan for the business.

A business plan is about results guiding decisions. The plan itself has no value if it does not help you improve business. Its core value is the decisions that it leads to. To make a worthwhile business plan, it needs to be constantly referred to. You will need to track results, analyze the difference between the plan and actual results, and then manage the business accordingly to reach the goals set out in the business plan. Compare the plan to reality and what actually happened. What went wrong, and how can you fix it? What went right, and how can you take advantage of it? Most smart entrepreneurs review their business plan monthly, and make changes as often as they see that a change would improve the business.

Doing a business plan is about results. What results means in this context is making your business better. A business plan is most likely to give you business results, to actually make your business better, in the following ways:

  1. Helps you set priorities properly.
  2. Enables you to effectively communicate the goals of your business to partners, investors, lenders and employees.
  3. Allows you to plan and manage numbers and their relationship to each other that are critical to business success; not only profit and loss but their relationship to cash flow and financial ratios.
  4. Offers a method of tracking results against goals, and how to make corrections when needed.
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Community Futures Alberta Southwest
659 Main Street
Box 1568
Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0

403-627-3020
800-565-4418

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Communities Served

Aetna, 
Beaver Mines, 
Burmis, 
Cardston, 
Carway, 
Chief Mountain, 
Claresholm, 
Cowley, 
Fort Macleod, 
Glenwood, 
Granum, 
Hill Spring, 
Leavitt, 
Lundbreck, 
Mountain View, 
Pincher Creek, 
Pincher Station, 
Stavely, 
Twin Butte, 
Waterton, 

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