It’s astounding how even some of Zimbabwe's biggest companies don't have business plans or any kind of document in place that explicitly details where the company wants to go. Executives and board members spend hours in meetings talking about what they want to do then they adjourn and basically wing it because there is zero documentation of their plans and therefore no checks or benchmarks in place to refer back to and measure progress; it's no wonder companies in Zimbabwe are so uncompetitive on the global stage.
Though there are some companies that have business plans chances are they were only put together because the organisation was looking for funding, which required a business plan as part of the application; but beyond just having something to hand over to financiers that business plan is usually tossed aside instead of it being leveraged for the trove of benefits it possesses that can help a company grow and succeed. So before you shelf your business plan or opt not to put one together at all, consider some of these advantages (besides accessing funding) that a well thought out and written business plan can have for your organisation, whether it's a start-up or a multimillion dollar corporation:
1. Makes you see the bigger picture
For start-ups there is often the tendency to vaguely conceptualise parts of your business and for big corporates with multiple divisions the operations in each department can become somewhat detached if not coordinated properly. Laying out a business plan forces you to look at your business as a whole and make sure the dots are actually connecting in ways that make sense. It forces you to take an at least somewhat objective look at your operations and strategies and see whether they align with your goals and the environment you operate it. For example the business plan can help you see whether your product actually caters to the needs of your intended target market; whether the target market, given the environment, can afford the prices you are charging; and whether your marketing strategy effectively and efficiently reaches your intended customer.
2. Helps you prioritise
Taking a holistic look at and assessment of your business through the business plan will also help you identify priority areas you may have overlooked before that require immediate attention.
3. Helps you identify what you’re doing well or terribly so you can leverage or improve
By explicitly laying out your targets, goals and assumptions in a business plan you have benchmarks spelt out for you against which you can measure progress allowing you to identify where you’re falling short and where you’re performing better than expected. You can then analyse and understand the underlying causes and make changes where necessary or double down on effective strategies.
4. Creates a shared focal point
A business plan provides a common companywide focus ensuring everyone is working towards the same goals. Even though divisions may have their own department level targets the business plan ensures that those targets tie into the overarching vision and goals of the organisation as a whole and that everyone is headed for the same final destination.
5. Gets everything down on paper providing proper records
The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory, as the saying goes. Writing information down is simply the best way of keeping a record of things. Having a well written document that everyone in the company can refer to ensures that ideas, concepts and goals are captured in one place where they can be referred to at any time in case people need a reminder.
6. Provides motivation
A well written business plan should inspire! It should be more than just pages and pages of information, it should give a vivid picture of the summits your company strives to reach and how you will reach them, the kind of picture that ignites a fire of excitement and determination within. And as you track your progress, with the aid of the business plan, it should also act as a positive reminder of how far you have come pushing you to keep on keeping on.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of a well written business plan, it is the manifesto of who you are as a company and who you aspire to be. Amras Communications offers professional business plan consulting that is tailored to your needs and budget; we can take care of compiling your business plan from scratch or if you already have one we can provide expert advice and guidance on how you can improve your plan ensuring that you are putting your best foot forward. Give us a ring or send us an email to arrange for a meeting and let’s take the first step towards realising your business’ success.