Continuously Monitor Your Business Plan - dummies

Continuously Monitor Your Business Plan

By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

Tracking all key metrics can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your business plan. Doing so can also help you monitor how well the objectives, goals, and strategies outlined in your plan are working. Even the best business plans need readjustments from time to time. How often? That depends on the nature of your business and the competitive environment.

Scheduling an annual review of your business plan is a good general rule, but you should also consider checking certain parts of your plan on a more frequent basis.

For example, if new competitors are popping up all around you, take a close look at the competitive analysis and customer profile sections of the business-environment component of your plan. If sales are falling short of expectations, monitor your marketing plan more closely.

Even if your company is buzzing along precisely as planned, certain parts of your plan demand ongoing attention, perhaps on a semiannual or even a quarterly basis. Those sections of your plan include your

  • Goals and objectives

  • SWOT analysis

  • Company strategy

  • Financial projections

  • Action plan

If you already have a business-planning team in place, consider asking the team members to assume the ongoing task of reviewing — and possibly revising — key parts of your business plan during the course of the year. If you’re on your own, create a schedule at the beginning of the year that sets out which parts of your plan you’ll review and when you’ll review them.

In the rush of day-to-day business demands, you may be tempted to delay the review and revision of your business plan. Especially when your company is under pressure — from competitors, finances, and operational deadlines — you may want to postpone any kind of planning until your situation settles down. Don’t. Giving your plan attention during critical times may well make the difference between pulling through and being pulled under.