For most businesses, 2020 has been a year where business plans have changed dramatically, and in some cases were completely scrapped. I say this assuming you had a business plan to begin with. The truth is that as much as 50% of small businesses have no plan. If you fall in this category, then this article is for you.
No one could have foreseen the turmoil we’ve experienced in 2020. However, if you had a business plan, you were more likely to be able to quickly assess the impact and adjust. In late February, we started to see some initial impact to our business and started to adjust plans for a worst-case scenario. We had to make some tough decisions but had an existing plan and foresaw the potential impact on our business. If we had not had an existing plan, I think it’s entirely likely our business would have been severely impacted.
The pandemic has shown us the importance of having a business plan. Hopefully, you have already started planning for 2021. If not, it is still not too late. Next year promises to have its own challenges, but there also should be plenty of opportunities. As we round out 2020 and look forward to 2021, I wanted to share some thoughts about business planning.
Developing a business plan is not something you should do in a silo. The first step is to determine who needs to be involved in developing the plan. It may just be your leadership team, or you may also need some other key leaders. It is important to seek input from key people in your organization. They should have ideas and perspectives that are different and can contribute to a more effective plan. In addition, you are going to get more buy-in, which significantly increases your chances of success.
Once you have a team in place, it is time to start thinking about what needs to go into your plan. Listed below are a few key components. It is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start.
For me, the biggest benefit of having a business plan is peace of mind. I can start each day knowing we have a plan we are executing that is going to allow us to achieve our goals. Some of the other key benefits are:
Hopefully, I have given you some reasons to be motivated to start planning. We usually start planning in October and work on the plan through November. However, it is never too late to start. Stop thinking about it and just go do it. You will not get everything right the first time, but it is a start, and you will learn and improve along the way.