Business Planning doesn’t just happen once when you start your business. Strategic planning is an ongoing activity for businesses who want to grow and achieve long term sustainability.
What does business planning look like? Many people just think of business planning as the activity you do when you start a business, or maybe when you are trying to get financing for a business venture. But it really is an ongoing process. Yes, creating a solid business plan with good assumptions and projections that sets forth how the business will operate now and in the next few years is a key activity that every business should go through.
But beyond that, your business plan should be a living document that serves as a blueprint for how decisions get made and how the activities of the business are conducted. Ideally this document is reviewed and updated annually in the course of an annual strategic planning session.
I recommend that business owners and their management team spend time away from the business to do this. Getting away from the office and into a setting where you can open up to high level strategic thinking is important. It’s best to conduct an annual strategic planning session in your off-season. After your busy season has concluded, you will have fresh information at hand about what worked well and what did not. You can review your results and start new projections for the coming and future years. You can discuss the strategic direction of your company and look for opportunities to increase business in the coming year, or potential threats looming on the horizon.
As you come away from your annual retreat with new initiatives, you will want to incorporate any changes to your written business plan as well as lay out an action plan to achieve them.