At Market Route Mapping, we love to take time out from work to have coffee and talk business. We caught up with our colleagues Mark, Helena, Stuart and Fiona at Amaretto, Bridge of Weir to find out their thoughts on business plans.
What do you all do?
Mark, I've retired recently and currently on the board of a local charity. Helena, I'm a Store Manager for a large British retailer and Stuart is my General Manager. Fiona, I own a small jewellers based in Glasgow and have been trading 12 years.
Let's talk about business plans. Why are they important?
Stuart, planning is paramount for our own use and our staff. We do this on a regular basis to notify individual members of staff, small teams and our corporate management so that they see the changes within the business and forecast of the seasons ahead of time. Fiona, you don't always need a business plan as such, at least not a traditional one. Unless you're seeking investment or other forms of finance, you really don't need a 40-page business plan that you'll never look at again. Helena, they give an indication of what's going on in the business and a great measure of how we see things.
What do they look like?
Everyone agreed that alot of research can go into business plans or they can be used as a brief outline. But what came out of the conversation was, how should they look? Are they more visual or does everyone prefer them written out?
Think about straight forward bullet points; or a collage of photographs or magazine clippings onto one big sheet of card-whatever you think, it needs to be organised.
How can this help me achieve my business goals and what do you recommend?
Mark, tackle it one bit at a time and schedule regular diary time each week to work on it. That way, it gets done in a more managed way and that you'll feel less overwhelmed. Helena, we tend to look at this daily, weekly and monthly! I believe you're much more likely to do what's in it and make it all happen. A regular form of reporting is worth doing-being accountable is definitely the key to business success.
That is great! Where would you go from there?
Fiona, talk or meet with other business owners or speak to professionals who already have experience in planning and business strategy. I joined our local Chamber of Commerce for that very reason, it's a chance to get coffee and lunch with folk doing exactly the same thing - running a business. I saw the benefits after the first view visits and I'm now an active member!
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