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When you are first starting a business you’ll put your heart and soul into a business plan. It’ll sit pride of place in your office and be the document that highlights the progress you are making during your first year as a business owner. For many people that is where the use of a business plan ends, you’ll make changes to your organisation of course, but you’ll never put a full business plan together again. Why not?

Making a business plan should be a core element of running your business, analysing performance, setting new goals and targets and putting new processes in place. Planning is something that will give you a framework to work within, but a business plan is never going to be 100% correct, it’s more about the process of thoroughly looking at your business, and this can be even more fruitful a year into the business, or five years down the line, than it is at the very beginning before you’ve opened your doors to the public.

Here are a few reasons why you’ll benefit from making regular business plans throughout the life of your company.

Planning When a Situation Changes – Sometimes there can be dramatic changes within your business, or external factors, that are completely out of your control. Take Brexit as a prime example, small company owners will now be in the process of wondering exactly how they are going to be affected by the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. These are uncertain times and so a new business plan that looks at all eventualities and how your business will cope in each scenario is a good idea to get underway. You should also keep an eye on your competitors and see how they are reacting to the potential changes.

Re-evaluate Your Core Business Ideals – It is always good practice to evaluate performance and analyse how your company is really doing, from top to bottom. Take a step back and see if your target market is still the same as it was when you first started, are there any changes in the service you provide that would be useful to reach those potential customers, or should you be shifting focus to a different target market? How is your retention of customers and your customer service techniques? There are so many different aspects of a business that can change as you got through time, that your original plan can quickly become meaningless if you don’t update it and shift your targets.

How to Grow – At first, a company is built to survive, with the first year of any business choppy due to fluctuating income and cashflow. A business plan written for this purpose is great, but what happens when you’ve levelled out, succeeded and are here to stay? The next step is to grow your company. Writing a new business plan will help you figure out the best approaches to do just that, targeting new customers, retaining a solid base of loyal customers and working out strategies that allow for flexible and scalable processes within your organisation on a day-to-day basis.

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