Does Your Business Plan Lack This Important Element?

Does Your Business Plan Lack This Important Element?When establishing your business, do you ever:

  • Feel out of control – you’re getting by, dealing with one crisis after another, but just barely hanging on?
  • Find that your longstanding products and services just aren’t selling like they used to, but you can’t find time to develop new offerings.
  • Think about retiring after selling out to a group of your employees, but you know that they (and you) are nowhere near making that possible? (see our post on exiting your business for more on that)

Having an effective business plan is a key step in tackling these problems as well as many others.

Several businesses manage without one. You might say, “It’s in my head.” Likewise, it can be a paper you prepared years ago and haven’t looked at since, perhaps because your bank requested it to provide financing.

Exact, a provider of business and financial software, conducted a survey that found that companies with a business plan were more than twice as likely to succeed in achieving their goals as those without one (a success rate of 69% versus 31%).

What’s wrong with many business plans?

How can your company make the most of the time and effort put into creating a business plan if having one is so important?

Our experience at IDM has shown that success requires more than just a business plan—although having one is essential.

One of them is that the plan needs to be a living document that you regularly examine, update as circumstances change, and use to direct what your daily, monthly, and annual priorities should be.

Unbelievably, a package is a crucial component of success. You may be aware that a business plan utilized to secure financing will be more successful if it has an appealing structure and design. Even if a document is just used internally, it will function better if it is visually appealing to look at and not just words on a page. This is due to the fact that after reading it, everyone—including you—will feel more confident in the validity of the concepts presented.

How a timeline helps make it all happen

But the one crucial element that many business plans neglect is time. A business plan is little more than a wish list if there isn’t a clear understanding of what must occur by when.

Including a timeframe is the greatest approach to ensure that the business plan is maintained and, more importantly, that the goals outlined in it are accomplished.

The milestones of your business plan are laid out in a timeline (or timetable, if you prefer), which also specifies when they are expected to be accomplished. These milestones include the number of workers, locations, sales targets, net revenue expectations, and other targets.

Here’s how a timeline helps make your business plan happen:

  • It breaks down big, scary projects into smaller, bite-sized chunks you can actually do
  • It reassures you by pointing out that you don’t need to do everything right now
  • It moves you along because you see a deadline for one of those “chunks” coming up, so you can get working on it


Start with the end in mind, then work backward.

If you’re looking for an experienced accounting partner who will help take your business to the next level, contact us to set up a discovery call.