Successful businesses—both large and small—utilize a regularly updated business plan to provide a clear vision and direction for a sustained profitable future. It becomes the roadmap business owners and entrepreneurs follow to grow their businesses and ensure continuous quality improvement. Such improvement is derived from monitoring business operations, marketing strategies, innovation, management and financial health. However, if not modified and adjusted to accommodate changes in the marketplace, a business plan can quickly become outdated. If the business owners do not check in with their clientele to assess how their products and services continue to provide value, a business could be in danger of becoming irrelevant.
Monitor your short-term progress
Traditionally, business leaders like to create both annual and long-term plans to set direction for their organization’s growth trajectory. However, even your annual big-picture plan (with identified goals) needs to be subdivided into a step-by-step process. If you subdivide this annual plan into 4 quarters, or 90-day segments, you can break down the goals into smaller parts which can be accomplished in a step by step sequence as you move through these 90-day sprints.
It is easier to monitor progress toward reaching your annual goals if you review the results of each quarter and make adjustments accordingly. Too many times, leaders try to establish their annual goals and business plan as the year commences and wait until late into the year to review how well they are faring. If each quarter has a set of smaller goals chunked out of the annual goals, then with each new quarter there is a fresh set of goals to keep you motivated.
You don’t want to get too far into a year and find that you are veering away from your targeted annual goals before adjusting. In addition, posting monthly financial results allows you to notice patterns that may be emerging and make changes to business forecasts based on informed decisions.
How much do you know about your customers?
Another important component of an updated business plan is a current marketing strategy. Keeping tabs on your customer experience can greatly affect how well your company builds and maintains customer loyalty. Consider how you are tracking the customer experience. With social media, you can build a loyal fan base with regular involvement. People are looking for meaningful connections and interactions. They are more drawn to connecting to ideas and stories that inspire them. This is where social media is greatly effective. The feedback they offer also shows their changing preferences and buying habits.
Marketing strategies are becoming increasingly relationship-based. Personalized marketing leads to more customer conversions. An updated business plan should reflect the changing tactics necessary to communicate effectively with your current customer base, as well as attract new buyers. Knowing the best methods to connect with your customers changes over time. It may be that you connect best via Facebook. However, you may reach your customer base via email, radio advertisements, or snail mail. It’s not important that you participate in all types of marketing strategies, simply choose those strategies that best fit with your customer base.
Keep your business relevant
Running a successful business requires an updated business plan that describes how the business will meet the changing needs and habits of its customer base. By organizing your work schedule into 90-day sprints, you can update the plan after each quarter. Yet, businesses also need to stay relevant to remain connected with its customer base. In today’s world, business owners can connect easier to their customer base if they are able to show that the company exists for more than making a profit. It exists to provide positive good for the community in which it serves. In other words, you must be able to communicate your purpose.
Having a purpose that is bigger than oneself drives business growth. It inspires to strive for the big picture and should clearly be delineated in your updated business plan. This is why we created the Purpose Driven Productivity System. With this system, you build a purpose-driven business (one that makes a positive contribution to society) while running smoothly and systematically—while boosting profits along the way. We can help with organizational process improvement so that your business runs smoothly, and all the various functions of the business operations work collectively. An organizational crisis does not have to occur before you begin to make necessary adjustments and create an updated business plan.
Download 3 Tips to Maintain an Updated Business Plan as a pdf.