Is your business on the right path?
Your Business Stage
Keeping your business running on a daily basis requires you to pay close attention to a lot of details. However, for long-term success you also need to look at the big picture and make adjustments to your plan as necessary. A good idea is to regularly revisit your business plan to help ensure that you are on the right path.
Your business plan is a roadmap for success but it should also be a living document. Just as a map needs to be updated to include new streets or buildings, your business plan may need to be revised to incorporate changes in the market and economy. You can use the Scotia Plan Writer for business to help you in crafting and reviewing your plan.
Regularly use your business plan as a benchmarking tool. Review your business’s performance against the assumptions that are built in to your plan.
Have your objectives been met? Do your income statements and cash flow match your earlier projections?
If there are areas where your performance is below expectations, identify the causes and develop an appropriate plan of action. Troubleshooting problems may require modifying your plan. For instance, if your revenues are below projections because the marketplace is weaker than projected, then you may want to adjust your borrowing or investment plans to be more in line with economic conditions.
It may be constructive to ensure that your business plan has a degree of flexibility that will allow you to alter course during slow periods. For instance, you could consider a flexible borrowing strategy. Instead of taking out a term loan for goals that are set in stone, perhaps you would be better suited by line-of-credit facilities that can be drawn upon as needed. Utilize the Scotia Small Business Borrowing Tool and speak with your Small Business advisor to determine what borrowing strategies are best for your enterprise.
In many cases, a business can correct its path by finding greater efficiencies in its internal operations. In other cases, such as when there have been transformative changes to the marketplace, larger adjustments may be a preferred option. A business may seek to execute a “pivot,” which usually involves sharply changing direction or significantly changing a business model.
For instance, many brick-and-mortar music and booksellers had to “pivot” as the Internet changed consumer markets, perhaps by shifting to e-commerce or moving in to niche areas. If you feel you may need a major adjustment, seek advice from your Small Business advisor or your board of advisors.
Have you had to make adjustments to your business? Share your stories in the comments.