A simple business plan is better than no plan at all for your business. Here are seven simple steps to getting your plan done. Make sure you also review samples of business plans and compare them to your list of small business ideas or strategies for a best-fit plan for your operation.
Few websites offer a simple business plan.
But many websites offer business plan resources (models, templates, checklists and examples).
Use this site to build a straightforward plan for your new small business ideas: you can develop strategies, tactics and/or techniques; business cases; business models; niche and focused plans, or broad and all-encompassing plans.
This site provides you with a simple business plan outline.
One that is do-able quickly and efficiently. One that keeps you focused on your business, your strategic investment, your growth and your business goals.
Additionally, you can access more than business planning strategies on this site.
You can access resources that can help with your small business startup, provide you with effective leadership techniques, decision making tips, help you to sell your products and services with business to business selling (and business to consumer selling) strategies, and more.
And these resources will also help you in managing your small business.
Note: to simplify your planning process you can also access samples of business plans; you can often find these samples through industry or trade associations and through education and government resources.
This page focuses on an overview of a simple business plan (one that should result in writing a business plan of not more than 10 pages).
Yes, you can and, if you have the time and resources, you should do a more comprehensive and strategic business plan. However, a simple business plan is better than nothing; and nothing is often what people do when faced with a task that is simply too large and overwhelming.
So, this business plan outline is a simplified version of a more detailed, comprehensive and strategic plan.
Identify (or if it's already written, review):
Your vision statement: describe the long term view of where you want to go, what you want to be, and how you want to get there;
Your mission statement: what business are you in and why;
Your team: even if it's just a team of one.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis:
Conduct a strategic analysis to identify and prioritize major issues and goals. Select the goals you must reach to accomplish your mission.
Design major strategies (for example a marketing plan) to address the issues and goals and incorporate specific approaches that must be implemented to reach each goal.
Develop action plans for each strategy and/or approach: who will do what, when, where, how, with what intent and how will results be tracked? Each approach needs an action item.
Develop and produce a sales plan, human resources plan, business operations plan (if business to business, this would include manufacturing and/or distributing; if business to consumer, this would include inventory plans, purchasing plans and more), business financial plan and any other working documents that reflect your business needs clearly and specifically.
Document all of the above steps into one package. Make sure that you review against the plan on at least a monthly basis (establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business). I like to measure business performance on a daily basis; for example, daily/weekly/month-to-date quotes against planned quotes; daily/weekly/month-to-date orders against planned orders; order promise dates compared to actual ship dates; etc.
I'd also gather some samples of business plans and see what they measure and track - this is particularly relevant if comparing to similar new small business ideas or concepts.
Monitor and update YOUR plan on a regular basis. When significant events occur that would have a big effect on your plan (for example, the entry of a new competitor; or the exit of a significant competitor), review and redo it. If your business has employees, share the KPIs with your employees; make sure they know what is important to the business, and make sure they understand how the KPIs fit with your expectations of their on-the-job performance (build measurement and tracking into your performance indicators for both the business and for individual performance).
Build your simple business plan.
And then manage your business to perform to the plan!
Return from Simple Business Plan to Small Business Plan.
A business plan outline will help to ensure that you cover all strategies.
Business growth is dependent on developing a strong strategy, and implementing it.
Build your Business Exit Strategy and include management succession planning.
Or return to More For Small Business Home Page.
Once you've built your plan, you need to implement it.
Developing your strategy (in the plan) is the first, necessary, step. You need to know the direction you want to go, and you need the strategy and the plan to help you get there.
But once you've built the plan, you must execute it.
There is no value in building a plan that just gathers dust.
When building your business plan, make sure that you include an action plan for the strategies, techniques and tactics.
The actions need to include who's responsible for doing what; measurements for success (such as deadlines and timelines, targets and goals, costs, etc.); and why you need to take the action (in some cases, one action needs to be accomplished before subsequent ones can be launched).
As you work through the plan, make sure that you build reporting periods into the implementation: you need to know what's going on and why something is working, or not.
Make sure to communicate progress, or lack of it, throughout the organization. And re-visit the plan when and where necessary.
Plan for the future: lots of business owners want to get, or keep, moving forward. Planning seems to be more of a passive activity.
However, to ensure that your business goes in the right direction and that it optimizes all its opportunities, and manages its challenges, it is important to plan.
Balance your activities against the plan: make sure that you are investing your time, and money, on the elements of your business that will help you succeed.
Measure what works, and what doesn't work, and keep your focus: use your business plan as a map to guide you in the direction you want to go.