How to Evaluate Your Business-Planning Situation
To get your business where you want it to go, you need a map to follow. That's what your business plan is all about. It starts with a description of your current situation; describes your future plans; defines your opportunities; and details the financial, operational, marketing, and organizational strategies you’ll follow to achieve success.
Imagine that your company is a ship about to set sail on an ocean voyage. Your business plan defines your destination and the route that you’ll follow.
It details the supplies and crew you have on board as well as what you still need to acquire.
It forecasts the cost of the voyage.
It describes the weather and sea conditions you’re likely to encounter along the way and anticipates the potential dangers that may lurk over the horizon.
Finally, your business plan identifies other ships that may be attempting to beat you to your destination.
The same kind of planning is necessary back on dry land. To navigate a new course for your company, you need to start with an assessment of where your business is right now. You may be putting your business together for the first time. Or your business may be up and running but facing new challenges. Or perhaps your business is doing well and about to launch a new product or service.
After you assess your current situation, you need to define where you want to arrive and what strategies you’ll follow to get there. The example form lists some of the many situations that companies face as they embark on the planning process. Take a few minutes to check off the situations that apply to your circumstances.