Business planning is essential for the success of any business. A business plan provides direction, keeps you on track and is usually a requirement when you seek finance. Read Why do I need a business plan to find out how writing a business plan can assist your business.
Taking the time out of your business to plan will give you a sense of control about the future of your business and pay off in the long run! Business planning can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, but many successful businesses look at it as an opportunity.
Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profits services. For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.
A business plan is not a document you create once and store in your bottom drawer. It is a living guide that you should develop as your business grows and changes. Successful businesses review and update their business plan when circumstances change.