One of our most frequent conversations we have with clients, whether established or new start up is around how to write a simple business plan. Business owners often get bogged down with having to write pages and pages for a business plan, when in fact, a one page business plan can serve as business just as well.
The key is having clearly defined goals and breaking them down into more manageable targets and activities.
At ActionCoach Liverpool business coaching, we help clients with business planning using the 12-Month “Merlin” Business Plan
It is the simplest business plan you’ll ever create; Start with the end in mind…then work your way backwards to almost each day.
The process focuses on setting figures for revenue profit and employees as these are the baseline numbers for most businesses. The figures don’t have to be exact and precise at this stage, they just have to be reasonable.
How to write a simple business plan:
- Step 1. Goals - 5 years
What are your financial Goals for the business in 5 years’ time?
If you aren’t able to answer this, then you don’t know what your “destination” is, and if you don’t know your destination, you don’t know where you are heading or if you are heading in the right direction.
- Step 2. Goals - 2 years
To be on track for your 5 year Goals, where do you need to be in 3 years?
Think about what your business and team need to have achieved by year 3 in order to be in track for your 5 year goals?
- Step 3. Goals - 12 months
To be on track for your 3 (and 5 year) goals, where do you need to be in 12 months’ time?
Try to come up with a reasonable figures based on your ambitions and the best information currently available. You need to start being more specific as the time frame is much shorter.
- Step 4. Goals - 9 months
To achieve your 12 month Goals, where do you need to be by 9 months? Consider the impact of seasonality and “momentum” and all other factors known at this time.
- Step 5. Goals - 6 months
To achieve your 9 month Goals, where do you need to be by 6 months? This is the half way point. What is realistic and achievable and will keep you firmly on track for achieving your 9 month figures?
- Step 6. Goals - 90 days
To achieve your 6 month goals, where do you need to be in 90 days’ time? Take into account all known factors known at this time. How you start is all-important, so stretch yourself while being realistic. These figures need to be quite specific and remember there is only so much you can do in 3 months?
- Step 7. Where are you now?
This will give you an indication of how reasonable your plan is. Don’t be put off by setting your goals too high in the long run, just be realistic in the short term. After all, if you aim for the stars and reach the moon then you have still made a major leap forward.
You don’t need to write pages of detail for each step, start with creating a table with the columns of: Revenue, Profit, Team and then each of the steps as the rows.
By breaking down your business plans into time specific targets, it is much more manageable and one of the reasons that the 90 Day Growth Club is a popular event with clients.