Map Your Future Success in a Business Plan

Just because you may be a small business doesn't mean that you should not have a business plan. While your goal may not be to be listed on the stock exchange it does make sense to map out what level of success you want from your business, and the actions needed to get there. Your business after all is going to be around for some time, Yes?

This is why it is so important to have a business plan, to continually check that you are on track and to monitor your financial progress and improve your competitive position in the marketplace.

How to Write a Useful and Effective Business Plan

1. To write a plan read a plan
- Look at some examples of business plans to get your mind the writing style, the sequence in which the ideas are presented, and the parts of the plan and how they are laid out. Perform a Google™ search on the web for Sample Business Plans.

2. It doesn't need to be right first time
- Set yourself a deadline and commit to it. Don't be disappointed or frustrated if the first draft is not perfect. They all start out that way.

3. Write it for others to read
- Your plan has to make sense to other people, particularly if you have to show it to a finance lender. If it makes sense to a third party then it will be easier to use and work with.

4. Use it
- Don't let your plan sit on your desk or in your bookshelf gathering dust, it should become a well-thumbed through document. Refer to it as often as you need to (at least once a week) to keep you focused and motivated, remember you use it or you lose it!

5. Update your plan regularly
- Remember you are writing a plan of action to be reviewed and updated regularly. If you are using it properly then the need to update it will be obvious.

Open your diary or planner right now and write a date you are going to work on your business plan. Block out a whole day or a weekend to ensure you give this your full attention.

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