“A business plan? Yep, I had one of those when I started. It’s on my laptop somewhere.“
That’s a perfectly understandable answer. If you own your own business you’re one of the busiest people on the planet (OK I’ve seen “This Is Going to Hurt” but that’s insane).
Don’t get me wrong. I know you have plenty of big ideas in your head or that you talk about with your partner, but ultimately, do you end up doing what you’ve always done? You know the expression “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” (credited to Henry Ford but seems it was originally said by Jessie Potter about ‘sex and love’ at the seventh annual Woman to Woman conference in 1982 in Milwaukee!).
If you want your business to grow, you need to start writing down your plans for the future. A five-year strategic plan is a great way to do that. It will help you map out where you want your business to be in that time frame, how you’re going to get there, and why! Even if your business is doing well right now, it’s important to have a strategic plan in place so you can continue growing and reaching new heights.
If you haven’t got one already, you are in the majority … 63% of business owners are in your camp. Don’t feel bad, just do something about it.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available to help you. You can find templates, worksheets, and even software that will make the process easier. Once you have your strategic plan in place, you’ll be able to track your progress and make adjustments as needed. Having a five-year strategy will help you stay on track and reach your long-term goals.
Still not sure where to begin?
OK, start with a clear picture of where you are today – your mission statement, vision, current / old business plan, sales & other financial data.
Now the harder part … defining the future.
Start with you and where you want to be in 5 years. Running a big company? Sitting on a beach? Starting other ventures? With that in mind, work backward from there to figure out what needs to happen to get you there. Start at a high-level 5 years out, then a little more detail at 3 years, then 1 year, 6 months, and tomorrow (not the one that never comes!). As you get nearer to the present day, your plan should get more detailed.
If it helps, check out this basic five-year strategic plan outline below. This will give you a starting point for creating your plan. Just answer the questions and you’ll be on your way.
>> Five-Year Strategic Plan Outline
> Vision: What do you want your business to achieve in the next five years? Write down your goals and objectives so you can track your progress.
> Mission: Why does your business exist? What are your core values? How are you going to win in your market? Keep these things in mind as you create your strategy.
> SWOT Analysis: Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will help you create a strategy that takes advantage of your strengths and minimises your weaknesses.
> Marketing Plan: How will you reach your target market? What marketing initiatives will you undertake in the next five years? Outline your plan so you can track your progress and results.
> Financial Plan: What are your financial goals? How will you achieve them? Create a plan that includes income, expenses, and investments.
> Operational Plan: How will your business operate on a day-to-day basis? What processes and procedures need to be in place? What can you automate or outsource? Write down your plans so you can refer to them as needed.
Don’t wait any longer, get started today. Your future self will thank you.
If you have questions about creating a five-year strategic plan for your SME business, message me and I’ll be happy to help.