A business plan is a living document. It's not something you create once and preserve, undisturbed, for posterity. There are three major reasons to revisit and revise your business plan:
- You determine during the process of researching and writing your business plan that your idea isn't likely to generate as much profits as you had hoped. That doesn't necessarily mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater. First, revisit all the decisions you made during the planning process to look for opportunities to improve the profit picture of your business idea.
- A potential investor provides feedback and insight about your business plan. In some cases, an investor might ask you to do some additional or alternative research and analysis and return the plan to them for further consideration. Other times, a rejection triggers your own ideas for improvement.
- You launch your business. As you begin operating your business, unexpected changes occur. Your business plan can help you to evaluate the impact of these changes and provide strategic guidance for your decisions.
When revising your business plan, always be on the lookout for strategic improvements. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Can I charge a higher price or get my target market to buy more products or services?
- Can my product or service meet the needs of a larger group of people?
- Can I produce a larger volume?
- Can I increase my market opportunity?
- Can I lower the cost of delivering my product or service to the customer?
- Can I better distinguish myself from my competitors?
- Can I market more successfully to my target customers?
As you do the research, planning, and analysis required to write a business plan, you use these tools to help turn your business idea into reality. Few endeavors are as important to the future success of your business. Remember that you use your business plan to:
- Refine your business strategy and look at your business idea from multiple perspectives.
- Raise capital to start or support your businesses.
- Keep your company on track.
At every step along the way, seek the guidance, advice, and support you need to create a winning business plan and strategy.
An Investor's Perspective
"When deciding whether or not to sink money into your plan, I'm likely to cut your revenue forecast in half and double your estimate of the time it will take to get your product to market."