There’s a great old saying that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, yet in business we often overlook one of the most basic strategic tools that help guide a company into the future – the business plan. Whether you’re starting out, expanding, or stepping back from your business, a plan is the road map of your business endeavour. Put simply, it’s essential, and here’s why.

Where you are now?

One of the most useful things a business plan can give you is a great overview of where your business is right now and how far it is to the destination you desire. Creating your plan involves an audit of what works, what doesn’t, your financials and where you want to go. It helps reveal systems that are lacking, strategies that work, and areas where improvement can easily be made.

Where you want to go

Business is a bit like the ultimate road trip, and after you know where you are, where to next? You might be looking to increase production, expand your product lines, gain more exposure or consolidate, and a plan will help get you there. It helps you map out where you want to be in the future, whether that’s one, five or 10 years’ time, allowing you to set goals and track your progress.

How you get there

The key feature of the business plan is the strategies it provides. You know where you are, you know where you want to be, now what’s the best route to your desired outcome? Any plan is not just limited to auditing and dreams, it provides systems, procedures and strategies to reach your goals.

For some businesses that may be utilising technology, for others it’s a solid marketing plan or a rethink of staffing. It could be a combination of all these factors, but the strategies are the roads you need to travel to get to your destination.

Need a navigator?

Even the best drivers could use the assistance of a navigator to get them to their destination via the most effective route possible. A great navigator will tell you whether the highway’s likely to be congested, and will have some little known back roads and shortcuts up their sleeve.

And this is where a business coach or mentor to create or implement your plan can be a huge asset. They can assist with providing an initial outsider’s view on what works and what doesn’t in your business, help with clarifying your goals, and provide the initiatives to get you where you want to go. They can also assist with implementing these strategies, utilising their expertise to help with marketing, technology or staffing.