Adding flexibility to your business plan
As operational consultants, at Take the Stairs, we know that nothing moves quite as fast as business. Whether it’s consumer tastes, technology, the competitive landscape or the economy, if your business doesn’t move with the times, it might be time to hang up your boots. It really is that simple: to maintain your competitive advantage, you need to adapt and adapt fast.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Your business plan is no different. It’s an important document as it contains your insight, hopes, plans and processes for your business – but it’s not a static document and needs to be regularly revisited, examined and updated.
From a business operations team standpoint, these are two of the areas that the team at Take the Stairs get asked about the most:
- How to write a good, credible business plan
- How does a business build flexibility and adaptability into its very core so that it doesn’t just survive, but thrive?
If those questions are on your mind, why not give us a call at (615) 219-9181?
Best practices for your business plan
If you’re going to adapt to stay competitive and build success into your business, you need to make sure that your business plan stays flexible and relevant. A good business plan is a living, breathing, organic document that can flow and adapt as your business environment changes. So, let’s run through best practices for business plan contents:
- Be able to explain your business essence
What are you selling, to whom and why? What are the benefits to the customer? This is the business plan’s answer to ‘why am I here?’
- Know how you’re better than your competition
You know your business – or business idea – is great and it’s important that you’re able to communicate the HOW of that to others. What’s your USP and why would customers buy from you rather than your competitor? This section should contain industry and competitor analysis, and pertinent information about your product or service.
- Be realistic about your goals
Whether your business plan is to show to potential investors or simply a blueprint to help you stay on course, stick to what’s realistic. It’s fun to get excited about possibilities but your plan should reflect what’s achievable.
- Play to the audience
Based on the idea that your business might be seeking investment in one area while running along quite happily in another, write several versions of your plan that are specific to the intended audience.
- Don’t forget the small print (marketing and financial plans)
It might seem obvious, but make sure to include your plans for how you’re going to attract customers and build a sustainable customer base, and support your financial projections with data-backed evidence.
Factors that could disrupt your business plans
As a business owner that deals with everyday issues as they arise, what do you do with the challenges that you can’t control? Such as:
- A new competitor that just opened its doors with almost identical products
- A raise in the rate of interest on your business loan
- Your supplier goes bust or puts its prices up
- Losing your best salesperson
- Change in a law, the weather, the political landscape…the list is almost endless!
You have zero control over these kinds of disruptive factors. But you do control your business plan. If you keep your plan fluid and open to change, you stand a better chance of staying relevant, competitive and successful.
Need help with your business plan? Talk to us today.
Being adaptable can benefit your business
If you and your employees are clear about where your business is heading and any plans for its strategic development, you’re all the more likely to react better to changing environmental conditions. Teams that feel empowered to make decisions based on their understanding of the business adapt more quickly when things don’t go to plan, and are able to find diverse and unexpected solutions.
Individually, adaptable people make great leaders. Being unafraid of new ideas and not needing to do things just because ‘we’ve always done it that way’, make people less likely to panic in a crisis and more adept at minimizing the effects.