By Halle Ramsey, business development specialist, Center for Rural Affairs
Business plans can be used to attract new partnerships, manage projects, and secure funding. Spring, a time of new life and hope, presents a good opportunity to enhance your processes and strategies.
Business owners can reevaluate marketing strategies and financial projections in addition to clearly identifying action plans for short- and long-term goals.
Many business plans are several pages long, and examining every single section may not be the best use of your time. However, components of your plan should always be reviewed, including the executive summary, market analysis, sales strategy, overview of products or services, and financial projections.
Questions to consider:
- Do I have a well-defined purpose for my business?
- What major events in the past year have changed how I market and sell my product and/or service?
- Have my products and/or services changed since my last review?
- Has my target market changed? If so, how do I reach my new customers?
- Have there been any major personnel changes in my business since my last review?
- Am I hitting my financial projections? If not, why?
How often you should review your business plan depends on the timeline of your goals. For example, newer businesses may have more short-term goals that may require quarterly reviews. If you own a more established business, you may only need to review your business plan yearly. Evaluating your plan is necessary whenever major changes to your business or industry occur, including leadership changes, significant revenue decreases, or adopting new technologies.
Reviewing your business plan is an important step to recalibrating your compass to make sure your business continues with its best foot forward.