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Monitoring your Business Plan

By: Garry Pierrepont - Updated: 24 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Plan Finance Strategy

Your business plan is finished. What a relief! You’ve got your finance. Now you can relax, pop the plan into a filing cabinet, forget it and “get on with the real work”.

Wrong! That’s a recipe for disaster and your business will quickly get on the wrong track and head for failure if that’s what you choose to do.

The Business Plan IS A Plan

Your business plan is exactly that. It’s a plan for your business, and since it is exactly that, it is a plan that needs to be followed. If you have constructed your business plan properly then it should represent a map for the success of your business. It should therefore be followed, and monitored.

If you decided just to “get on with it” and ignore the business plan, what is you will be “getting on with”? You will have nothing to measure yourself or your business against. You will not be able to monitor or manage its success.

If the business plan has done part of its job, then it will have convinced investors to put finance into the business, and help you get it up and running. But that is only part of the job of the business plan. The other part is to set strategy and objectives and come up with action plans for the business.

Logical Flow To Monitor The Plan

The business plan should talk about the visions and values of the company. From that you should develop your strategy; from that your SMART objectives; and from those your action plan. It is a logical flow, and it means that the action plan will fir perfectly with the overall values and vision of the company because they have been derived from them in a top-down approach.

If you have formed your business plan in that way, i.e. to come up with an action plan, then it will be ready made to monitor, measure and manage.

Monitoring and measuring the actions within the business plan will tell you whether the actions are achieving their targets, and since the actions are aimed at making the business successful, you will know from comparing your measurements with the targets whether you business is on course for success.

If your business is on course, that is great news.

What should you do if your business is not meeting the targets on the action plan in the business plan?

Take Action

You should not “do nothing”, as that will undoubtedly lead to more of the same which equals failure. Action can be in one of three ways:
  • Change the target
  • Change the action
  • Change the people

Try to understand the reasons that the targets are not being met. Has the target turned out to be unrealistic and unachievable for perfectly valid reasons? If that is the case – and you must be honest about the reasons – then you could lower the target.

Is the target not being met because the actions are not being undertaken fully or properly? If so, why is that? Are the resources inadequate, the budget insufficient, the marketing not good enough? If that is the case, modify the action, or add further actions to rectify the situation.

Is the target not being met because the people are not fulfilling the actions? Are the people not right for the job? Have they not been trained well enough? If so, you could change the people.

Doing Nothing Is Not An Option

The key point is to examine the reasons for the failure to achieve targets, and take action. Doing nothing is not an option.

Even if your business is on course and meeting its targets, the business plan should remain constantly monitored. No business can afford to relax and rest on its laurels.

The business plan should be a working document which is used to continually keep the business moving forward to success. It is crucial to monitor the plan to enable managers to properly manage the business.

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