You may think a business plan will help you grow your business, but the truth is that they often don’t work for small businesses.

Around one-fifth of all businesses in the United States fail in their first year. Much of this is due to neglecting to plan well, and this can lead to an inability to respond to issues moving forward. So, what is wrong with the traditional business plan outline and what should you do instead?

We detail why legacy business plans aren’t good enough, outline what a modern business plan needs (and how you can get help creating yours), and show you why it’s time to focus on priorities.

Why Traditional Business Plans Fail

In the past, people created business plans based on a stable market and went into a lot of detail from the start. Today, market changes are much faster and demand a different, agile, form of planning. Most small business owners recoil at the thought of taking the time to create a 100-page detailed strategic plan. They believe one page is about all that is needed.

Many small business plans also face issues if the company owner cannot gather the resources required to continue. Time, a workforce, and money can all put a squeeze on traditional business planning. As such, you should create a plan that focuses instead on priorities rather than a rigid structure done sequentially.

Priority-Focused Plans

These days, more successful small businesses use a priority-focused plan. In addition, being on one page more or less makes it streamlined, approachable, and doable. It also  has the following benefits:

Increase flexibility. After defining your main priorities and goals, you can find the things you need to achieve right now that will best move you toward success. This ensures you can focus your attention on the things that matter the most and allows everyone working with you to do the same.

With this in mind, everyone can act in an agile manner, pivoting as you continue to aim for accomplishing the same goals that you set in your plan.

Overcome resource constraints. If you have resourcing issues, you need to know you are applying everything you have in the right place. By setting priorities, you can avoid wasting time. You can re-prioritize all non-essential work and streamline your operation as you go along to create a smoothly functioning operation that accomplishes the goals you set.

As you gain resources, you can address more tasks on your priority-focused list. Still, you can limit yourself to the most important things you need to do first to ensure you succeed.

Make decisions easier. One of the benefits of a business plan is its ability to guide you when things are not going as you expect. By having a priority-based business plan available, you always know what to do next on the list.

While priority setting is always part of traditional business plans, it’s not uncommon for these plans to have been so formal they ended up on a shelf gathering dust as they weren’t really useful to the small business owner. Despite all the details and information in these plans, they are often irrelevant to a small business that must react to markets and competitors more nimbly than a big corporation.

With a priority-based plan, you can tackle tasks when they become relevant and not before. This offers a form of just-in-time business development.

Deliver quick wins. By aiming for and achieving only the biggest bang-for-buck priorities first, you can act much faster. If you can keep this momentum going, you can go from only having a few things finished to having a large portion of the business running in a shorter time. This helps you see what the big picture is and allows you to pivot toward potential clients easier should the need arise.

This can also help you build up support from stakeholders. If they can see the progress you have made, they are much more likely to be more on board than otherwise.

Foster collaboration. During the planning process, if everybody sees that you have business priorities in mind, they can invest in those features. Then, when you complete them, everyone can have a strong, shared sense of achievement that you can ride all the way into the next priority.

At the same time, by breaking down all your company's priorities into distinct activities or tasks, you can organize efficient and coordinated working teams as needed. People can invest in the priority that makes the most sense for them to involve themselves in, getting the work done faster.

This also helps foster open and honest communication. With a transparent set of priorities, people can discuss when their work is being blocked. They can also make clear what the impact of continued blockage on the company might be, promoting better decisions.

How to Set Priorities

Before developing business strategies, you need to understand what the goals of your company are. That starts with clearly knowing what your mission, vision, and values are.

Your Mission

Even if it’s not written down, you have a mission statement. This is what you intend to do to create business value for potential clients. Without this, you have no sense of what you are providing people.

This should be a major priority as it allows you to eventually generate revenue, ensuring your company can survive in the long term.

Your Vision

Your vision is your “Why.” Why are you doing this, what drives you to do what you do and gets you out of bed in the morning? It is the loadstar that guides you along the way as you create the engine that will get you where you want to go. It is long-term. Visualize where you would like to be in five years, or even further into the future. This will help you set your priorities as you proceed and things change.

Your Values

These tend to be concepts related to your specific mission, but they can shape your company's success. Maybe you have strong beliefs regarding honesty, courtesy, employee rights, etc. Either way, your stated bedrock values will directly guide what you want to work on to create the right culture for your company.

Your values may not directly affect your revenue. Instead, they allow people who you hire to buy into your company. They will also help them feel motivated to push your business to success.

Improve Your Business Plan Outline

The above benefits should help you understand why a priority-based business plan outline is the best way to go. However, for some, it can be difficult to sit down and complete this first step. Or, you might be done and wonder how to move forward when issues come up.

If you want to know more about how to run a successful organization, we can help. We are experts in the field of business development and are ready to help you succeed faster and with greater certainty than on your own.

If you need more advice or have any questions related to creating a better business, get in touch, and let’s talk about your dreams. Brian Tracy USA: 877.433.6225 Email Me