Here at Continuous Business Planning, we create business plans that help business owners obtain the insights and the finance needed to take their business to the next level. More often than not, this is in response to what we call a "business planning event", such as a meeting with a potential investor, loan officer or a deadline for a visa application. However, we believe that a business plan can be much more than simply a necessary evil in pursuit of a particular goal such as investment, a loan or the requisite visa to conduct business in either the UK or US. It can become the focal point for the process that has given rise to the name of our company; Continuous Business Planning.
Continuous Business Planning is the name we have given to the ongoing process of reviewing and comparing the planned numbers with the actual numbers. When you go through the process of creating a forecast, you are forced to think through the key numbers for your business and to set targets. Once you have set these goals for all your key numbers, you will be able to manage your business more efficiently as you will be equipped with the information you need to know whether or not your business is on track.
The next step in the Continuous Business Planning process is to set up a regular review meeting in which you review your planned numbers against your actual results. This will give you the opportunity to analyze any variance and ask the questions that will lead to adjustments in your strategy, business model or even products and services. What hasn't happened that should have happened? What assumptions had you made that are not true? The review frequency might vary from business to business. However, as a minimum a brief review meeting should be held once a month.
The last step in the Continuous Business Planning process is to make small adjustments to your plan based on the variance between your planned and actual results. The process of comparing these numbers and understanding why the reality is different than the plan will help you make the decisions that can actually change your financial picture, and help you grow your company.
Although the business plan created for your business planning event will almost certainly be out of date within weeks of it's completion, it is crucial to not "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and use that fact as an excuse to abandon the planning process all together. Without engaging in the essential planning necessary in order to understand your actual results and to guide your day to day business decisions, it is unlikely that you and your business will become everything that you hoped that they would.
In short, we help our clients grow their small businesses using an action-biased business development framework, the 3-stage plan-do-review learning cycle. Clients initial point of contact with us is often the pressing need for a business plan but, since the plan-do-review cycle is continuous, no one starting point is inherently better than another. Indeed, the whole process could just as effectively start with a thorough review of current performance and the working practices that underpin it (review) or a business improvement project (do), rather than planning (plan).
Your business improvement project can start anywhere that suits. The critical factor that will drive business growth is that the process is continuous. At Continuous Business Planning, we facilitate this process and get as involved in each of the stages as our clients need us to be in order for them to achieve their goals. To learn more about our prices, our method or our team, please call us or send us a message.