Business Plans - What Consultants Don?t tell You!

Do you have a Business Plan? Congratulations, but you are in a small minority. And if you have a plan, is it integral to your business, and instrumental to its growth? If the answer to this question is yes, then you need to read no further. However, most business owners who actually go to the trouble to write a business plan have left it languishing on their bottom shelf, gathering dust! This is the dirty little secret of business consultants.

Most business consultants are only interested in selling their time or their 'Business Plan in a Box' but know that for a business plan to be useful, it has to be part of a Business Management System. But this is a much harder proposition for the consultant to sell, particularly to small business owners who are just looking for a quick fix. So most consultants just sell a quick fix solution- a business plan that they know will, within months, end up on the bottom shelf. Once owners have prepared their "fill in the blanks" plan, they expect it to transform their business overnight just by its mere existence. And because this does not happen, they never look at it again.

Business Plans do work, but you have to make them work. It is not a one-off exercise. If you buy a 'Business Plan in a Box', you need to understand that you are responsible for maintaining the plan. You also need to satisfy yourself that the product you buy is not just a fill in the blanks product. These plans always end up on the bottom shelf. They don't show you how to do your strategic analysis (which is never a fill in the blanks exercise- no matter what someone tells you).

Business Planning is a real soul searching exercise for the business owner. You have to be brutally honest with yourself. Even if you prepare your plan yourself (without a coach), get someone else involved to keep you honest! Looking at examples of what others have done can help, but your business will have different strengths and weaknesses and will operate in a different marketplace. And lastly, make sure any off-the-shelf product you choose will show you how to implement your plan into your business.

When you use a consultant, insist that they show you how the plan should be implemented into your business process. And have the consultant give you at least one review of your performance against your plan six months after the plan has been delivered. While this will cost you extra, this will ensure that your plan does not end up on the bottom shelf- because you know you will be held to account!

Business Planning is not an easy process. It takes time and commitment. You don't just do it once. This is not what business owners want to hear, and what most consultants won't tell you, because it might cost them a sale. But the rewards from a well implemented business plan are worth many times your investment.

Copyright 2005 Empower Business Solutions

Dr Greg Chapman assists small to medium sized businesses with business planning, business systems and marketing strategy. To find out how you can Multiply Your Profits & Make Your Business Run without You, and to find out How Good Your Business Really Is with a Free Online Business Medical, go to Empower Business Solutions website at: http://www.empowersolutions.com.au

In The News:

Small business is big business in SC  Charleston Regional Business
Small Business Week is around the corner  Quesnel Cariboo Observer
30 Vegan Business Ideas  Small Business Trends
businessrecord.com  Business Record
Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal
Borrello endorsed by small business association - News  Dansville-Genesee Country Express

Operating Your Small Business ? Everything Really Is a Project

Do you operate your business as a series of projects,... Read More

Home Based Franchise; What About Future Expansion?

As a franchisor I am always asked by new and... Read More

Todays Chef, Tomorrows Restaurateur -- Startup Tips by Restaurant Consultants Inc

Researching information for a recent business plan, I came across... Read More

Business Pain Defined

Every company has business pain, but the pain does not... Read More

A Portable Trade Show Exhibit Makes for an Easier Show

You can make your trade show experience much easier by... Read More

Essex Accountants: Top Things to Look For

One of the most common horrific mistakes a business can... Read More

Is Brick and Mortar A Passing Fad?

Q: Is the online world the best place to sell... Read More

Small Business and Branding ? Why and How?

When we speak of branding most of the time people... Read More

Are You Ready to Own and Operate a Business?

How often has someone thought of starting a business based... Read More

Computer Related Habits From Small Business Owner - Be Prepared, Avoid Despair

Aside from the fear of losing a spreadsheet or research... Read More

Creating Time the Virtual Way

Time. As a small business owner, it's the commodity you... Read More

Detailing Business Options

So you want to get into the auto detailing business... Read More

Cabinet Refacing Business Opportunities

With all the cabinet refacing business opportunities out there, you... Read More

Do You Want Your Own Fully Programmable ERP? - Part 3

Continuing from the second article:6. About the aground mathematical model,... Read More

Six Sigma for Small Business

It is not surprising that some people may perceive Six... Read More

Two Types Of Business Plan Cover Pages ? Which One Are You Using?

This is the tale of two business plans with very... Read More

Small Business Operators - 7 Reasons You Should Change Your Accountant

A recent survey showed that only 28.7% of small business... Read More

Creating a Power Plan

Part of the power plan is making sure you have... Read More

Professional Car Care Businesses You Can Start

If you are in the professional car care business you... Read More

Window Cleaning Business Future Challenge With Self Cleaning Glass

Self-cleaning glass has been talked about a lot, with such... Read More

If You Want To Be Remembered...

Send handwritten notes. That applies whether you're a guy or... Read More

Franchise Company Operations Manual Sample Outline

Many companies wish to expand and a few wish to... Read More

A Small Business Must Have a Solid Foundation

We all know that a building has to have a... Read More

How to Protect Yourself & Your Business

As a business owner, you already know how important it... Read More

Increase Your Profits with a Point of Sale (POS) System

Whether you operate a chain of restaurants, a mom-and-pop convenience... Read More