SCORE Small Business Blog

A Realistic Plan for Your Business

Life experience as well as research studies have indicated that successful small business planners must set realistic goals and plan how they are going to reach them.  Planning helps you to work smarter rather than harder. It keeps you future-oriented and motivates you to achieve the results you want. Perhaps most importantly, the process of completing a Business Plan enables you to determine what commitment you need to make to the venture.

Always make sure that your business goals are realistic. If those who read your business plan roll their eyes when they see your goals, it is best to re-evaluate the goals of your business.  Rest assured that the proposed goals may be in serious trouble from the very beginning of your endeavor. For instance, establishing a goal to be the number one is a good goal on the surface. Looking at it realistically, just how can you accomplish it?

A more realistic and highly-attainable goal might be to become one of the best during your first year and make adjustments going forward. Devising a path or a way of reaching the goal makes it much more realistic. It is also important that the goal needs to be realistic for you and where the business is at the moment.

To keep your goals and plan realistic make sure your plan is:

  • Explicit: All steps completely spelled out.
  • Intelligible: Capable of being understood by those who will carry it out.
  • Flexible: Capable of accepting change.
  • Written: Committed to writing in a clear and concise manner. Planning significantly increases your chances of success.

Other tips to insure that you prepare a realistic plan:

Justifies Your Plans and Actions

Often, one decides to do something because it ‘sounds’ or ‘feels’ right. You may do something because that is the way that you have always done it. Preparing a Business Plan forces you to prove the validity, or at least consider the reasoning of your plans.

Be Realistic

It is easy to be excessively optimistic about a new idea. Planning helps to prevent you from viewing the future in ways that the facts do not support.

Seek Advice

Planning enables you to recognize problems that call for outside sources of information and assistance. Remember SCORE is always there for you, we counsel you both in person and online!

Recognizing Change

The nature of markets and consumer needs change rapidly. Planning cannot predict change but it helps you to recognize it and map your business strategy accordingly.

Balancing Growth

Small businesses tend to either grow too fast for their capital base or too slow to maintain cash flow. Planned growth enables you to plan your capital needs in advance and to ensure that funds are available when you need them.

Result Orientation

A detailed Business Plan enables you to monitor your results against a predetermined set of goals and performance standards.

Tests Your Ideas on Paper

It is much better to produce a Business Plan and find that the business is likely to be unprofitable than to start the business and find out the same thing.

Reduces ‘Firefighting’

Many small business owners spend so much time ‘putting out the fires’ that they never have a chance to do anything else. By preparing a Business Plan you can anticipate problems that are likely to occur and decide how they should be handled in advance.

Indicates Your Ability and Commitment

A well-prepared Business Plan is an impressive document. It shows outsiders such as lenders and suppliers that you understand the business.

Good luck, now go and start your plan!

Miguel OrtaMentor with South Broward SCORE
As founder of American Strategic Consultants, Miguel has conducted market research, feasibility studies and business planning for the development of international enterprises around the world. He has served as owner/operator of several start-ups in a wide range of industries. | SCORE Mentors | Facebook | More from Miguel

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