More Uses for Your Business Plan

You have invested a lot of time and energy on writing a business plan just to get a loan or to attract an investor. What do you do when you get the money or, worse, should you be turned down?

Do you just file it away? That's like investing in a boat that remains parked in your driveway after its inaugural voyage.

Instead of filing it away or leaving it on a shelf to gather dust, why not capture more return on your investment? To gain a clearer perspective, convert your investment of time and energy into a dollar amount. Then, you'll think twice before filing your business plan away.

Ways to capitalize on your investment

  • Expand the marketing section for an ongoing planning document, or for periodic reviews, or for revising marketing strategies. The historical data, projections, competition surveys and analyses are valuable bases for updating the data into a working framework. The material is a convenient reference for when you are asked to make an oral presentation, to write an article, to provide background data for ad copy or for other promotional activities.

  • Save the various sections as templates for any number of purposes. Some of these can be used for decision-making, for analyzing proposals and new ventures, or for dispensing with those time-consuming 'dream/someday' projects.

  • Use some excerpts for such Human Resource Management activities as: orienting and training a new associate, or as a preparation for a staff promotion.

  • All your grueling work on the financial data can form the foundation for financial controls and reviews, budget-actual sheets and as background for trend projections. Your original documents serve as benchmarks and as reminders of your progress for your bankers.

  • You will not have to start out from scratch should you have a similar need to re-apply for funds, tender an invitation to a partner, or supply data for the experts should you consider 'going public.' The evidence of before-and-after progress is helpful as a contribution to a 'for sale' proposal, or for a sudden and urgent offer to buy. Plans for expansion, mergers, spin-offs, or cooperative alliances can start with your collected data.

  • Your business plan, with its appendices, is a convenient repository for company data and records, equipment details, floor plans, measurements, maps, contact details for legal and accounting consultants, general historical information, industry descriptions including your historical SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the past, current and future at the time of its writing.

  • Create in-house displays of your mission statement, the organizational chart or the photographs and biographical sketches of your benefactors and supporters.

    Don't have a business plan in your files? Begin preparing portions today as an investment for that day when you will need one. It's quite probable that when that need arises you will be too pre-occupied to devote the required time and energy on an appropriate plan.

    Now, you have a greater incentive to do a more thorough business plan today, knowing it is going to serve several useful purposes in the future.

    About The Author

    Gerry McRae added practical wisdom to his college and univeristy courses by owning and operating small businesses. That wisdom is now online at http://www.UncleMaxSays.com.

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