If you Google ‘Business Plan Template’ the choice will overwhelm you. Business plans are hard, especially for the small business owner who wants to formalize and grow their business. They’re a necessary part of operating at that next level and used properly, can help you nail down your vision, objectives, and strategy for growth. Used improperly and they become just another document lost to the wasteland of your document control system.
A business plan template is a great idea for a small business owner. They’re pre-made, they’re customizable, and most of the time they’re free. But how do you know you’re onto a winner? Well, never fear, we’ve got a few hints to help you sort out the nice from the nasty business plan templates.
The Ease of Use Test
Ok, so you’ve downloaded a business plan template, opened it up, stared at it, and now you’re wondering whether the resulting 45 sheet spreadsheet is a little too much for your needs.
If your business plan template requires an MBA and 2 months to fill out, you may want to rethink it. Yeah, they’re complicated documents, after all, they plan out your entire business for an extended period, but they shouldn’t be so complicated as to overwhelm you.
I’ve seen business plan templates that contain some incredibly complicated instructions you have to follow before you can even begin entering data about your business.
They might be great for CEOs of large conglomerates who require a multi-level, multi-national, super in-depth financial analysis of their business for the foreseeable, but for your small IT support business, they’re probably overkill.
The golden rule here is, if you don’t understand what you’re looking at, you probably don’t need it.'The golden rule here is, if you don't understand what you're looking at, you probably don't need it.' @oldburyjordan#business #copywriting Click To Tweet
We’re not saying some learning isn’t required, if strategic business planning isn’t your bag then get Googling and YouTubing before you start, but don’t waste time on things you know deep down are unnecessary. That brings us neatly to point number two.
If It Doesn’t Help Your Business, Why Bother?
Your business definitely requires some sort of plan, and a business plan template is a great option for those who don’t have the time nor inclination to create their own from scratch. However, not everything included in the template is needed. You get to do that wondrous thing that we all love to do. Delete stuff. Yeah, go on. Do it. Do it now. Delete. Feels good right?
You can save yourself a great big headache by realizing that you own your business, you know how it runs, you know what you want it to do, and you do not need to listen to everything your business plan template tells you. The best business plan templates allow customization. They don’t force you to complete PESTEL analysis and then SWOT analysis and then create a 10,000-word mission statement. They give you a simple framework built around common and intuitive business analysis tools to help you create a plan that suits what you do and how you do.
It’s easy to forget the purpose of these documents when filling them out as they become a task in themselves. The idea of a business plan is to generate, based on some internal and external analysis, a general roadmap for the continuation and potential growth of your business. If your business plan template doesn’t do that, scrap it and find a new one.
Your Business Plan Template Should Be Like a Gymnast.
No, we don’t mean it should wear spandex and wave tiny banners around. We mean, your business plan template should be flexible. It should be adaptable. It should be able to change as conditions change.
Think about it. Your business isn’t only ever one thing. It’s an ever changing beast. It’s incredibly reactive to the surrounding environment. It has to be or it will die. So why then do we think of our business plans as documents that, once created, have to remain exactly the same, while the rest of the world changes around them?
The ideal business template is born of a desire to change with you. It should be a living document that you update as your business develops. Yeah, a lot of business plan templates ask you to assess external threats and opportunities, but do they give you scope to change these as time progresses and alter your overall aims?'So why then do we think of our business plans as documents that, once created, have to remain exactly the same, while the rest of the world changes around them?'#businessplan #copywriting Click To Tweet
Remember, these are plans that help you guide your business forward, like the rudder on a ship. They’re allowed to alter course to prevent catastrophe. They build the best business plan templates like passenger jets, allowing course corrections en route to your destination. They build the worst like the Titanic, mindlessly plowing ahead despite changing conditions, en route to an iceberg shaped disaster.
Really, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to business planning. As long as you understand and are able to communicate your strategy to your team, or if you’re all Han Solo, you know where you want to go and have a rough idea of how to get there, the best business plan template ultimately is one that you understand and use.
So when you’re in the planning phase of your business and you’re looking for that ideal business plan template, remember to find one that suits your business, doesn’t require an advanced degree in theoretical business modelling to complete, and allows you to change and update it as your business evolves and external factors shift.
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