If your business is focused on making or manufacturing products, most days your to-do list will be filled with tasks to make sure that process runs smoothly.
Apart from that, you will be focused on anything and everything that contributes towards getting your products in front of as wide an audience as possible. So marketing, advertising and promotions.
And then as the sales come rolling in (ker-ching!) so do your fulfilment and delivery processes, and you have to make sure they work as efficiently as possible. Day in, day out.
So yes, I know you have a lot going on!
However, it’s easy to think that, because things are ticking along, writing (or updating) your Business Plan is for the birds.
But it’s not a redundant task; quite the opposite. Let me explain why product-based businesses should use Business Plans as a matter of course:
Business Plans help you Set and Clarify your Goals
A Business Plan will help you set goals and targets that are realistic yet challenging for a certain time period.
Now, whether that time period is a year, a half-year (6 months) or a quarter (3 months) is up to you. What’s important is that you set goals and targets that make sense for where you are and crucially, that help you get where you want to go.
Business Plans help you Measure Performance
“Measuring performance” sounds serious!
But let’s face it, how will you know what’s working and what needs improvement if you don’t?
And by measure performance, I mean things like looking your revenue this month and seeing how that compares to last month’s.
If it’s at the same level or even higher – great! I’d suggest taking some time to understand why that increased occurred, and if you can replicate that going forward to ensure you consistently generate that higher revenue number.
And if lower, then you’ll want to work through the causes to mitigate and prevent them having such an effect again.
But these are things you can only take a closer look at when you track and measure.
Business Plans Make You Think about the Medium & Long-Term
It’s easy to focus on the here and now, and there are many reasons why it’s important to be present.
But one of the great things about a Business Plan is it makes you give some serious thought to where you want your business to get to in the medium to long-term.
So while it’s important to fulfil customer orders today, it’s crucial to have an understanding of what you’re aiming for after that – as well as what needs to happen to get there.
Business Plans Encourage you to Focus on the Finances
Most people shy away from keeping a close eye on the money side of things.
But the last time I checked you were running a business, not a charity?
And you can be sure that even charities and non-profits are on top of their finances, as they will not be able to continue operating if their expenses exceed donations!
A well written Business Plan will ensure you are aware of what your running costs are and by extension, your cash flow. And from that point, you can develop a good understanding of how much sales you need to make – and how much revenue you need to generate – on a regular basis, to remain a going concern and to be profitable.
How I can Help
Not sure where to start?
If you need help with your Business Planning, I have designed some tools that can help:
The first is a One Page Business Plan Template.
It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.
And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.
You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.
The second is a comprehensive Business Plan Template, which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.
Similar to the first template above, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan. You can buy and download your copy of the Business Plan Template here.
And finally, I provide a Business Planning Service. If you would like to produce your Business Plan but can’t commit the time to do it yourself, you don’t have to worry! Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.