All accountants will advise clients that they need a business plan yet so few clients actually prepare one, and if they do they rarely regularly review, update or reflect on them.  Why is this?

A business plan is like having an itinerary for an overseas holiday.  An itinerary tells where you are going and when, how you will get there, what you will do when you get there and where you will stay along the way.

Having only a vague idea of where you'd like to go as a 21-year­old on a yearlong back-packing adventure to Europe is fantastic, but having no set itinerary doesn't work if you're a parent squeezing as much into the three week school holidays to maximise the cost of the flights to Europe.

Not having a business plan is like being a 21-year­old back-packer on a yearlong adventure.  You will have vague ideas of what you would like to achieve in the next twelve months with a vague idea of the probable likely financial results.

By contrast, having a business plan is like being an organised and responsible parent getting the best value out of the family trip.

If you would like your business to achieve your goals then the most certain way of succeeding is through a business plan which is structured, written down, covers all areas of your business and most importantly is regularly reviewed.  There is little point in writing a fantastic document and then never reviewing or acting upon it.

A business plan is what works for you.  It could be a short or long document, electronic or paper, a spreadsheet, scribbles on the back of an envelope or a fancy software program.  It doesn't matter what form it takes the point is you've committed it to writing, stated clearly your SMART* goals and how you are going to achieve them.

A business plan will generally cover your strategy, products/services, sales/marketing, human resources, budget, projections for 12 months to 3 years and financing needs.  Every business and owner is unique so every business plan will be slightly different.  It should be a working document that you know backwards.  It is all too easy as a small business owner to work in your business and not on it.  You will reap the rewards ten times over if you are disciplined to set the time aside monthly to look at the big picture and your business plan will give you the structure to do this.

Overells can help in drafting your business plan and/or to meet monthly to develop the habit to review it regularly and help you to reach your business goals.

*SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely