Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How To Create A Monthly Business Plan

Running your own business is tough enough with all the work that needs done and staying organized in order to meet your business goals can be time consuming. There is an old saying that says a failure to plan is planning to fail and any business plan you may have assembled may be fine to get your business off the ground, but day to day planning will help insure you meet the overall planned goals.

However, large scale planning is similar to eating an elephant and has to be done one bite at a time. You will need to learn how to create a monthly business plan, as accomplishing things on a monthly basis will help keep you on track to meet annual goals. If your business is not planned properly for every month of the year, the 12 month totals can not be met. Beginning by breaking down your year into 12 equal bites will help you focus on different aspects of the business as well as planning ahead.

For example, your business is in retail there will be holidays throughout the year that will affect it and if you do not plan accordingly, sales will not be available. Selling Christmas ornaments for instance, if you do not plan to have them available at least two, possibly three months ahead of time, when they do arrive it may be too late to sell them as most everyone will already own them. Your business, regardless of what it is will have cycles during which different things will affect its popularity.

Your business plan should be created one month at a time but at least three months ahead of time. Meaning, whatever you plan to do in April should be part of your January monthly business plan. While not everything can be planned 90 days ahead, having it noted on your plan in January to plan for lawn services to begin in April will give you enough time to get it done before all the lawn service companies are booked and can not get to your lawn.

The monthly business plan should be set up similar to your profit and loss statement with expected income and expenses with contingencies available for unplanned events. You should also include in your monthly business plan corrections to anything that did not go the way you expected it to go so that when planning the following years monthly calendar you are reminded of what did not work and avoid repeating the mistake.

These corrections of errors can also help prevent someone else repeating the mistakes if for some reason you delegate the plan writing to someone who was not involved when the mistakes occurred. While the monthly business plan is important, it can start as an outline and be filled in as the plans for daily and weekly business operations are finalized. They can then be rolled up into the monthly business plan and subsequently into quarterly and annual plans.

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