So, you’ve heeded our advice, done your research and written your business plan. But what now – what is the crucial the next step?
As I stated in my last post, many people create business plans but then don’t follow them, resulting in a lack of vision for their organisation and uncertainty for stakeholders.
The key is the make your business plan actionable and fluid. A business plan is not a set-and-forget, static document but the living, breathing soul of your business.
As your plan does what it is intended to do and guides your future, it will change and evolve as your business does.
So, once your plan is written, here’s the next steps to take to ensure all that hard work is actioned…
Get help where you need it
This point is key and so often overlooked. A business cannot be completely self-sufficient.
Depending on the nature of your business you may have suppliers, logistics, clients and other external stakeholders to consider and engage with.
There’s also the financial help needed in terms of finance, investors and accounting, or expertise from external marketing and communications support.
You’ll need to decide whether you need to employ someone within the business to offer ongoing advice, guidance and support or seek the services of an external company to achieve a particular outcome.
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Test, measure and adjust
Once you’ve got your business plan nailed down and your support systems in place, it’s time to put that plan into practice.
As much as possible, put processes in place to measure each activity so you will be able to test and adjust your business functions as time goes on.
This way you will be able to see what’s working and what’s not and refine your activities, resulting in greater efficiencies and potential cost savings.
Continual testing and measuring in every area of your business will help guide your business and ensure it aligns with your purpose and goals.
It will also open up opportunities for further growth, scalability and development.
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Seek feedback wherever possible
Constructive feedback is the lifeblood of a successful business. It helps to improve processes and identify new opportunities.
Encouraging and seeking feedback is also a great way to engage stakeholders and promote your business in a positive way.
Positive feedback can also be repurposed to further benefit your marketing efforts in the forms of reviews, case studies and word-of-mouth marketing.
If not already noted in your business plan, set regular points throughout the year to gather feedback. This can be both internal feedback from within your team and external feedback from clients, stakeholders and suppliers.
Don’t let your business plan be just a theory or concept. Make it actionable and take the steps you need to set your business up for long-term success.