The Family Vacation
What do business planning and the family vacation have in common? Remember those family summer vacations from childhood? If yours were anything like mine, the one thing that you remember most was the obsessive planning that took place before we stepped foot out of the door and got strapped in to the station wagon. We would get maps from the AAA with the route clearly marked, potential hazards along the way, road construction, alternate routes and weather forecasts.
We’d have blankets in the car in case we had a breakdown on the highway (even in the middle of summer – wouldn’t want to get cold!). Food would be packed for the journey (in case we broke down in an area where there wasn’t a McDonalds or an equivalent – wouldn’t want to go hungry!). Our itinerary would be mapped out to the minute. We’d know where we were supposed to be at every step of the journey, milestones we were supposed to hit, just in case we were going to be running late and needed to phone ahead to the relatives to let them know (wouldn’t want them to worry!). I can’t say that this was a particularly enjoyable aspect of summer vacation, but I do have to say that thanks to this meticulous planning, we never broke down in an area where there wasn’t a food joint and froze to death.
And How It Relates To Business Planning
Now what does this have to do with business planning, you might ask? Well the business plan should serve a similar function to running your business as it did in planning those childhood vacations. The business plan should have the journey mapped out with a clear path to your destination, the milestones you will be hitting at every leg of the journey, potential risks and hazards you might encounter and ways of dealing with those hazards.
When writing the business plan for business planning purposes, was it something that you wrote to raise funding and then stuck in a file folder to gather dust? Or, is it a living document that guides the way that you run your business. Just make sure that when you develop your business plan that it doesn’t have all of that useless fluff in it to make it look like an “important document”. Keep it direct, relevant, to the point, and most importantly use it as a roadmap for your business. The business plan is the most essential part of the business planning process. When done properly, it can be a much more enjoyable experience than being stuck in a station wagon listening to AM radio as a child. The Small Business Administration is a good place to start in business planning for your small business. Un_Standard is another resource to help in the planning process.