ENTREPRENEURSHIP / FEB. 28, 2015
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How to Systematically Test and Improve Your Business Plan

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Your business plan represents the foundations on which your business was built. You laid out your vision and methodology from the very beginning to ensure success and growth. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to make sure your business plan is working. You need to be flexible because not everything always goes as planned. You may need to alter your plan in order to remain on the path toward your goals. So, here’s how to test and improve your business plan along the way:

Speak to your staff regularly

In order for a business to work, everybody needs to be on the same page. So, you’ll have to ask your workers a few questions – you might want to have one-on-one interviews for this or send out an anonymous questionnaire so that they feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly.

Find out if they know what the current objectives of the business are and what they’re doing to help achieve those goals. Do they have a solid understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and why? Who is accountable for each step on the way to success? On the basis of this feedback, you can alter your business plan or, at the very least, make sure that everybody is well aware of your long-term goals.

Look at the figures

If you created a strong business plan in the first instance, then you should have made some projections as to where the business should be and when. In other words, you may have thought that the company would be making a certain level of profit or have a certain number of staff by the 1-year mark, 5-year mark and 10-year mark, etc.

At each stage, you should complete an in-depth analysis of the figures and compare this to what you expected in your business plan. If you haven’t reached the level you expected, then find out exactly where the weaknesses and setbacks have been, and make a change. If you have surpassed your expectations, then work out why and keep doing what you’re doing well.

Speak to customers/clients regularly

Without the people that purchase your products or services, you would be nowhere. Your clients or customers will have formed an opinion about your brand. Here is another instance where you’ll need to get regular feedback. Find out what they appreciate about your services and where they would like to see a change or an improvement.

You’re not a soothsayer. So you might have found that clients want something much different to what you initially imagined. Alter your business plan to meet their needs. You really should follow the trends and developments within your field, too, to be able to keep up and to keep your clients happy.

Don’t be knocked back by the fact that your business plan needs a few amendments. This is just the way business works. If you stand vehemently by every little point and projection you made in your business plan, then you would get absolutely nowhere. Flexibility and change are key when it comes to creating a thriving business.

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