5 benefits of having a business plan

When done properly, a business plan is more than a document that tells you and your staff what the future might hold for your company. A well-executed business plan maps out the precise future of your business in detail. It is a strategy that takes into account the resources and goals you have now, and explains what needs to be done to get your company or organization to a position of greater profitability and heightened competence as the future unfolds.

Here are five things a business plan can do for your business:

1. Helps you find funding. You might be a fresh entrepreneur looking for capital investment or an established market leader who is looking to grow. In any case, your business plan is the place where you and your consultant put on paper all the reasons why investors should support you with their capital.

2. Manages your growth. As your business evolves, many things can change including your yearly budget, number of employees and your financial and client targets. If you do not keep on top of the effects of these changes, who will? Your business plan can help you assess and monitor how your company is currently evolving and how it will continue to grow into the future.

3. Determines and monitors your objectives. Perhaps above any other benefit of business planning, the setting and following through of goals is integral to the success of your business. At the most basic level, your business plan lets you decide and keep track of where you are now and where you endeavor to be in 'x' number of months or years. At a more advanced level, a cycle of business planning keeps you on target through regular meetings and updates.

4. Delivers your marketing approach. Who is your target audience? What are the unique selling points (USPs) that allow you to stand out next to the competition? By what tactics will you best reach potential clients? A marketing strategy is an important task unto itself, but you'll have it neatly packaged within your business plan.

5. Manages organizational and employee requirements. This element of your business plan lets you figure out who within your organization is filling which roles, whether you could benefit from more or less staff and how you will go about recruiting new employees.

A business plan is a valuable part of how you start and conduct your business. In assessing your present and forecasting your future, you'll be well on your way to a clearer vision and a higher chance of success. Good luck!