Growing your small business requires careful planning and patience. It can easily take years to become an overnight success. In the meantime, your hard work is usually rewarded by empty bank accounts, maxed out credit cards and stressed or broken relationships. As an entrepreneur, you know, with every ounce of your being, that your business will succeed one day. You cling tightly to your business plan, even while others question your sanity and wonder out loud when you are going to grow up and get a job!
Then one day, if you can hang on long enough, you gradually find yourself actually showing a profit. For a short time (about a minute and a half), you bask in the glory of having proven all of the nay-sayers wrong. Then it hits you, in order to survive, your business has to grow.
Businesses that remain stagnant will wither and die. The alternative is to find new customers, add new products, add new locations, etc. That probably means that you will need to find new sources of capital to make this happen. Time once again to visit your business plan.
One thing that most of us forget is that our business plan needs to be a living breathing document. At a minimum, you should drag it out once a year and blow the dust off of it. Even if you haven’t reached the magic place where your business has become profitable, reviewing your plan will give you the opportunity to focus on things that are important or revise the plan to reflect your current reality.
Even the best plan is of little value if it is locked away in the office safe. As the head of your company, you must take every opportunity to communicate its contents to every stakeholder. That certainly will include your investors, but also your suppliers and perhaps most important of all your employees. Getting them to understand the mission, vision and plans for the organization will make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction and will align their goals with your own.