Although the primary use of a business plan is to convince lenders and grant providers to give you the money you need to get your business started you should not underestimate your business plan as a tool that you can use in order to ensure that your new business stays on track.
You will find that different finance options want slightly different things from the business plan that you submit as part of your application. However if you have a comprehensive business plan put together you can take out what you need quickly and easily if you have taken the time to put all of your research and calculations together in one place. Your business plan makes a great reference document for you to assess how your business is performing according to the projections and assumptions that you made initially.
Your business plan should be a living document that you refer back to find out whether your original assessments were accurate, and if they weren’t to go back through the calculators and questionnaires to assess the impact of the differences. The more active you are in monitoring and assessing your business, the more likely you are to catch any potential issues early on and be able to carry out remedial action. As your business matures these changes are likely to gradually diminish, but it is always good to keep a watchful eye on any changes that do happen within your business, particularly if you take on, or lose, staff at any point.
Activities such as forecasting cash flow and applying effective prices to your products and services are made much easier when you have historical information to refer back to. Record changes you make because you may forget what you have done and what worked and didn’t work. Therefore you learn from your own actions to keep your business going as well as it can do. Also, don’t be afraid to go back to the tools you used originally in order to help you to update financial forecasting and marketing strategies.