Not every startup manages to be successful. In fact, many will never amount to more than a concept because of several different factors. One of them is the business plan. Without a proper business plan in place, there is not much hope for any business of reaching success.
Should you be questioning your business plan?
There is no shame in admitting when a business plan is not working. However, instead of just walking away and trying something else, it is recommended to use this time as a learning experience. Why did you start the business in the first place. Is your exit goal to sell the business? More specifically, now is the time to ask insightful questions, such as:
1. Do You Have Clear And Achievable Goals Set Out?
The first thing a business plan should have is direction. In other words, you have to set short and long-term goals. You also want to divide these goals into “achievable” portions. For example, simply setting a goal to make money is not going to get you anywhere. You have to build goals from the ground up, and you have to be practical about it.
Your initial goals should include establishing a framework for your business. If you plan on opening a local brick and mortar store, do not forget about digital marketing and creating an online presence. And if you are launching an online store, will you be able to fill orders as necessary? These are small factors you have to approach as minor goals. Once they are in place, it becomes much easier to take your business to the next level.
So, to sum up, does your business plan have clear short and long-term goals along with strategies to achieve them? If not, it could be why you feel like your business plan is holding you back.
2. Is The Business Plan Organised?
In order for a business to function properly, it has to be organised, right? Chaos is not good for business, nor is it good for your business plan. Certain things need to happen at a certain time. For instance, you have to secure funding sources (if you are not the sole funder) if you want to go ahead with the launch and maintenance of your business. You should also have some perspective on how markets are likely to react to your product or service. Do you plan on hiring employees?
At the end of the day, it is much easier to reach the goals you set when you keep things organised. Not only will it show that you operate at a professional level, but you will feel more confident in your business plan as well.
3. How Much Do You Know About Your Target Market?
For those who do not know already, your target market will significantly influence your business strategy. Hence the reason for doing as much research as possible about your potential clients and customers. Are they going to expect you to have a local office or store? Will your business operate on a local level, or do you want to extend your reach beyond borders?
The more you understand your target market, the better you can adjust your business plan. Think about it for a second. Expenses like marketing and advertising will be much less because you are targeting individuals with the most potential to support your business. Is this part of your business plan? If not, then it is definitely holding you back.
4. Market Potential For Your Product Or Service?
In addition to studying your target market, you have to establish whether a demand even exists for what you have to offer. No matter how strong your business is, if there is no demand, your business will operate at a loss. Yes, it is definitely possible to create demand and even a new market. But this can be a daunting task that requires even more research.
Essentially, you want to objectively determine whether your business plan is holding you back, or is the lack of demand for your product? You can do everything right in business and still not see a profit, simply because people are not interested.
5. Is The Competition Using A Different Strategy?
Another good way to test your business plan is to compare it to your competition. But focus on competitors that are high up in the ranks. What are they doing differently? Sure, they might have a big budget for marketing and development now, but many successful businesses started with very little capital. And it is because these businesses had a good business plan in place from the beginning.
While it could be very difficult to look at your competition without getting blinded by jealousy, it will serve you well to study their tactics, especially when they are doing good. In business, you have to be open-minded and willing to learn from your peers. Then you can come up with the most effective business plan.
6. Does Your Business Plan Cover All The Necessary Areas?
It is a very exciting time when you start your business. Although, through all the excitement, it is common for new entrepreneurs to miss small yet important details. Remember that a business plan is not just about the broad strokes that make up your business. In fact, it should entail every element of your business from start to finish.
Why go through all this trouble? Firstly, investors are more likely to listen when you are able to answer every question they have. Secondly, getting down all the details gives you the most control you can possibly have when launching a business. Even though there are certain things you cannot predict or change, it helps to take charge of elements that are within your power.
Does your business plan cover every aspect of your business, right down to the smallest expense?
Assessment Is A Good Thing
The fact that you have the courage to ask whether your business plan is holding you back can be considered a brave step in the right direction. The quicker you learn from your mistakes, the quicker you can make smarter decisions. Now, after reading all of the above, how does your business plan measure up?