Blog entry

Strategic Business Plan Updating

The New Year often brings a period of time where our friends and family are strategizing ways to make their New Year resolutions last longer than they did in years past. January feels like a fresh start to whatever you would like to accomplish in the months ahead. For small business owners, this is the perfect time to strategize for your business. Strategizing for a small business can occur in several different ways, however, the best place to begin is right where your small business started; your business plan.

The beginning of a New Year is a prime time to review your business plan. Over the past year your small business may have grown or changed in ways that you did not originally predict. Therefore, many items in your business plan may be outdated. A typical business plan includes an executive summary, unique selling point or identified opportunities, market research, marketing and sales, your team, financial forecasts, an implementation plan, and appendices or additional supporting documents. Taking a look at the list above, you can easily identify the major parts of any business plan that may quickly become outdated from year to year. For example, your team of employees may have changed or their roles may have changed within the organization as your small business evolved.

Secondarily, updating your business plan may help determine which direction you would like to direct your business in this year. There are several important questions to ask yourself as you strategize your business plan. Do you have any outdated unique selling points? Is there a new competitor in the region? Have you introduced new products or services? Has your target market changed in any way? Do you have any new supporting documents, business licences, new training certificates or agreements to include in your plan? Becoming better acquainted with your business plan can set you up for success in the year to come.

In particular, there are three sections within the business plan that are the most useful to analyze at the beginning of the New Year. The first is the financial forecast. For many small businesses within the Cariboo-Chilcotin, completing a profit, loss and sales forecast for the year ahead may be difficult after this past summer’s interruptions. However, it is important to complete as the forecasts will allow you to realize your businesses potential and allow you to budget in preparation for the months to come. Be careful to not get caught up in the seasonal spending fluctuations as you predict your profit, loss and sales for the year ahead. While business in the Cariboo-Chilcotin is slowly but surely returning to normal, now is the best time of the year to assess and understand your small business’ financial status. A good place to begin is talking with your accountant and booking an appointment with a financial planner. Your accountant will help you understand the past finances and upcoming costs expected for your small business. On the other hand, the financial planner will help you prepare for any changes that will occur to small businesses from federal and provincial decisions, such as any new or changing tax laws.

The second section to pay special attention to is the implementation plan. Were you successful in completing the goals or reaching the targets you had originally strategized for your small business? Why or why not? Take some time to reflect on the goals or targets that you set. Are they still worthwhile for your business? If you accomplished the goals or they are no longer valid for your business, now is the time to set new goals. To set goals with the most viability, try following the S.M.A.R.T Goal criteria.  S.M.A.R.T Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. After writing down a goal, analyze the goal based on the above criteria and try to be as precise as you can be. The more S.M.A.R.T. your goal is, the more successful your implementation plan for the New Year will be.

The last section to strategize over is your marketing and sales plan. Did you follow through on your marketing plan since creating your business plan and how did the plan reflect within your sales? With a new calendar, it may be time to redesign your marketing and sales plan. Adjust your plan to fit with your business’ and your customers’ needs while taking into consideration any changes that have occurred within your business over the past year. To further support your plan, decide on your yearly advertising budget and prepare your small business to be promoted at the most opportune times of the year. Based on your target market, it may be worthwhile to seek new advertising opportunities such as through social media, magazines, newspapers or blogs. A well designed advertising campaign can make all the difference in having your business recognized and remembered by both old and new customers.

Overall, updating your business plan at the beginning of the New Year might feel like you are creating a New Year’s resolution for your business. However, this is one resolution you know will be a good fit for you and your small business. 

 

By Alexis Forseille

Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin

Back to Top

About Community Futures

For over 25 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized programs to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic.

266 Oliver Street
Williams Lake, BC
V2G 1M1

Phone: (250)392-3626
Toll free: (888)879-5399
Fax: (250)392-4813