I have discussed before that it is important for small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants, to do a minimum of business planning, but does it stop there?
Not really, you need to keep up to date with your bookkeeping, to complete the business planning process. You may ask why, if you have done the planning, why not get your bookkeeping done once a year for your tax return?
The answer to this question is the business planning process never ends. Remember I have been talking about going back to your plan at least once a month. In order to fine-tune your small business planning you need to actual information how your business performed in the last month. The only way to do that is to do your bookkeeping or accounting.
By doing that you will be able to compare your predicted numbers in your cash-flow with the actual number your business has generated. This in turn will help you to update or modify your cash-flow plan for the future. More important than that, you will learn new things about your business:
- You may have higher (good) or lower (bad) sales, than you expected?
- Your cost in your business may be higher (bad) or lower (better) than you expected?
- Your cash-flow may be better or worse do to the above two points?
- You may need to outsource some business processes to lower your fixed cost structure, to make your business more recession proof or just more profitable?
- You may need to ramp up your sales and marketing activities for your small business products or services?
- You may also have to adjust your SWOT analysis and your business goals?
You will be surprised how creative you can be, once you know about and understand a problem in your business plan. It may not even be a problem at that time, you may just need to adjust the way you do things, and you may have avoided a small or big problem in the future.
In my opinion strict cost control and bootstrapping are not like nice to have features, they are essential for your small business survival. Often the difference between failure and success is just a little planning and checking the “plan” – doing a reality check. There is no excuse not to do it, all the tools are available for free, for anyone.
If you feel the initial process of business planning is too much for you, than get your accountant or bookkeeper to help you to set your cash-flow fore-casting, SWOT analysis with you, doing it online will give you strategic advantages, like you can work with your accountant or bookkeeper in real time in different places, this lowers your cost, no time wasted and is good for the environment.
I would like to make one more point here, the aim of all this planning is not to get it spot on – no, the aim is to understand what is happening in your business, that is why you should be doing it.
Among other things, it will give you a measure of certainty, security and confidence, if you understand what is happening in your business. So, how confident are you about the future of your business? Why not take the weekend and have a planning session, it is like playing monopoly, only this game will secure your future. ST.