Creating a plan for the future of a business is as difficult as it is necessary.
If your organisation is running smoothly, you may believe you don’t need one. Business plans tend to be theoretical and unrealistic, so it’s easy to overlook their value. But, planning for the future is essential to the continued success of your business. Keeping one eye on the future can help you better navigate challenges, identify opportunities and plan for the outcomes you want to see.
Did you know, a business that has taken the time to formulate a business plan for the future is 6x more likely to grow effectively than those that lose sight of their future development? This shouldn’t be set in stone, but it’s crucial you have a basis to form this upon.
There are a lot of different things to consider, so today I’m taking you through the necessary steps to plan for the future of a business successfully and why this is so crucial. Whilst it may require you to invest a portion of your valuable time, in the long term, this will significantly benefit your organisation. Whether your business is planning to expand, enter new markets or increase the product lines, a good business plan is essential as it will help you look ahead and identify all the positive and the negative outcomes associated with the move.
Refer to the original vision
Whilst it’s likely you had to adapt to the market and any unexpected challenges, referring to your original vision and belief system is crucial to the successful development of your business. These will allow you to remain grounded and focused, eliminating the risk of you going off on a tangent every time you hit an obstacle.
A plan for the future of a business helps you not only prioritise your goals but as a result, will also see you effectively manage your daily tasks. Without this, everything becomes urgent and you lose a work-life balance, ultimately leaving you overwhelmed. If you are more than a one-person operation, this plan enables your team to align to one overall vision and to collectively work to the organisation’s goals.
Keep it simple
Just a decade or two ago, a business coach would have curated elaborate 40-page plans covering objectives, mission, organisational structure, target market, customer behaviour, competitive advantage, marketing strategy, sales forecasts and financial projections. But, the move now is towards simpler, shorter documents that give the essential information concisely.
A lengthy document is likely to not be read by investors or employees – we have shorter attention spans and therefore, need to outline the key elements only. You should include:
- Vision – What are you building
- Mission Statement – What you do, what your product/service is and who your customers are
- Objectives – Your business goals for the next week, month or year
- Strategies – How you plan to achieve your objectives
- Action Plan – Steps you will take to action your strategies, including dates/deadlines
Remember, this document requires you to consistently update in the ever-changing business environment. Keep it relevant and simple by breaking it down into quarterly plans that take into account micro and macro changes.
Before you identify the opportunity for growth, you first need to focus on where your business is at the moment. Where are you performing well and which areas need a change in their approach? It’s crucial you do some in-depth reporting and have a clear path on how you’re going to develop these areas of improvement whilst still remaining on top of the daily operations that keep your business humming along.
Many business opportunities are yet to be explored and you need to identify them to stay ahead of your competition – look for new markets, any additional revenue streams etc. Think about your customer base and be sure to bring special attention to your marketing strategies and online presence, an area often neglected yet crucial to visibility and long term success.
Automate the right way before moving onto bigger projects
When you plan for the future of a business, one of the best places to start is the automation of processes, specifically menial tasks that prevent workers from doing the valuable work you hired them for. Look for software that allows you to store email campaigns or perform mundane customer service. By eliminating these tasks, your workers can focus on expansion and increasing revenue – aligning with the business’ priorities.
Businesses planning for the future need to account for the fact that their competitors will increasingly automate their workflow, and to keep up they must do the same. You need to develop a strategy for automating the tasks that currently drag your team down the most and go from there, ensuring that each ‘level up’ aids your business rather than making more work!
Understand why your competitors and other businesses have failed
Of course, you don’t want to concentrate on the failures of a business but it’s important you understand the common pitfalls many fall into. The two main causes, for small businesses in particular, is running out of money and failing to conduct efficient market research. And, in addition, the unprecedented – such as the pandemic.
Ensure you are positioned comfortably before implementing new processes, you first need to ensure your daily operations will be unaffected. It’s impossible to prepare for everything, but if you can identify the inevitable you can avoid the common mistakes made and overcome hurdles your competitors may have struggled to overcome. And, as a result, you can gain a competitive edge.
Learn to successfully implement new strategies
You need to be fully prepared before you implement a plan for the future of a business, there will be challenges along the way but you need to pre-empt these potential obstacles before they cause an issue. So, you need to be able to successfully implement these new processes and strategies after identifying areas of improvement. It’s important to remember that within your plan, these strategies should be relevant and manageable otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure.
To successfully implement a strategy you need to confidently lead the way and ensure the processes align with the overall vision and goals of the company. Otherwise, it’s likely these changes will not stick!
Review your plan
Forecasting is a key part of business growth and it should be a priority. In this ever-changing market, it’s imperative you measure how your business is performing and if it is delivering upon the goals outlined in your plan. Without measuring performance, you can’t monitor what is and isn’t working meaning you are unable to make informed decisions, crucial to the success of your business.
Reviews should be ongoing, regularly scheduled to ensure you remain on track. Be sure to include your whole team in this process where possible to diversify the overall perspective. You may find yourself set on a particular route when in fact, there is a far more beneficial journey towards growth that your employees have identified.
How to plan for the future of a business: Why is it so crucial?
In a rapidly changing world, forecasting helps prevent organisations from becoming victims of circumstance. It’s important to look to the future and explore both positives and areas of potential difficulty. Ultimately, this will enable you to stay ahead of the competition and develop a thriving, agile business that can rapidly respond to changing circumstances.
A flourishing company, as a result, will not only increase profits, improve time management and boost company morale but will also attract the talent needed for sustained growth. Whilst some businesses may already be performing strongly without a plan, it’s important to consider what could be achieved if they have a robust business plan for the future in place. When everyone works towards a common goal or vision, you unite your team and can successfully work towards achieving this desired outcome. Especially, as sometimes you need to do things in a specific order to meet these goals.
Working with Chrysalis Growth
With the resources of a successful coaching team, a background in technology and best-practice business techniques, I can systematically work with business owners to identify issues and development areas in their business. Most importantly I can understand the goals and aspirations of the business owner and work towards making them a reality.
Are you looking to develop an effective plan that will serve your business into the future? Together we will formulate a simple, straightforward strategy and help you achieve your goals. Click here to discover more about what I do, or click here to get in touch today and I’ll get back to you promptly to discuss how I can assist you with your individual requirements.