There are certain words in business that when they are spoken or in many cases mumbled behind a quivering hand, they make the chin drop and eyes bore holes in the carpet. Words like all the tax phrases, terminal, provisional, GST etc. Words like balance sheets, bank reconciliations and creditors reports. All really nice words if used in a non-business sentence, like the word ‘plan’ can be a great word, “let’s plan our holiday”. But when I talk to clients and I put the word business in front of it, well, what do you know, it’s the old chin droop eye bore time for a new carpet syndrome.
Why does it have this type of effect? Well I have done a very short study on it (I asked somebody) and this is what they said, “We have never done one before, We have no idea how to start it, we don’t know what to put in it, we don t have the time, and really, what’s the point?”’. Then they took a breath and just stared.
Let’s take the only serious objection they had, “what’s the point”. The point is, we all have business plans, every one of us who owns a business has a plan for the future. Now don’t think just because I said that, you can stop reading now, Oh no! Because there are business plans and business plans and for a lot of business owners the plan is tucked away inside the grey matter, under the expensive hair job being kept warm by the winter beanie. The objectives of a good business plan is to extract the ideas, thoughts, dreams, goals and the extraordinary entrepreneurial brilliance that is hiding in the head and get it down on paper. “But why?” you shout, “it’s happy up there!”…well, if it’s written down in a well presented business plan format it will become a road map for your business to follow to achieve your goals (that sounds like something your accountant or bank manager would say).
Now as I said there are plans and plans, I have seen business plans that are leather bound, kept in a box and I have seen business plans written on a beer coaster. Which is best? In my opinion neither, however they both have a place. At Trades Coaching New Zealand we use a very simple two page template that all the client has to do is fill in the gaps. We use this approach as it covers all the objections from the extensive client study I undertook. If you have never done one before, just follow the instructions, if you don’t know where to start or what to put in, just follow the instructions, as for time, it takes hardly any. The first page is a quick biopsy of the business, who, where, what type stuff. The second page covers the meaty bits, the goals, the budget (don’t get scared here we will cover this another time), the exit strategy and the most important part and action plan.
So the big question, “what’s the point, do I really need one?” The truthful answer, is no you don’t. The prudent answer, is yes you do. It gets the jumble in your head in a working order, it will allow you to get external help, accountants, business coaches etc. it will give you that map to follow, it will give you an action plan with key dates to work with and the list goes on. As construction experts that you all are, following a plan should be second nature to you. You can’t be expected to build a house without a set of plans then why should you be expected to build a company without a plan? One important point to always remember, your business plan is always a work in progress, keep it a fluid document because you never know what door is going to open around the corner.
One last point to make in the favour of business plans, I come across many businesses owners that say “the bank said no” with a wee tear starting. My first reply is “how did you present your case?” they then say, “well I just went in and asked”…… If they went in with a well presented business plan, a budget cash flow forecast and proposal of why they are asking, the odds of getting a bank to say yes have increased many times.
We have business plan templates at Trades Coaching New Zealand which we are more than happy to email out to you if you need one, please just contact us and this will be done.