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New Year, New Plan: 4 Reasons to Start a Small Business Plan NOW

We have all heard the phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This could not be more important than when it comes to small business planning. Small business plans — not just revenue plans — are key to both startup and seasoned business owners. All aspects of the business including future innovation, staffing, marketing, service offerings and capital needs are part of a forward-thinking plan.

Below are four benefits of setting business planning goals for 2019 NOW:

1. Knowledge is Power

By defining your goals, you can develop a deeper understanding of the effects of tactical decisions and how they play against your strategic goals. For example, a quick-fix decision to make a major equipment purchase or reduce profit margin to win a large-sale account could have positive or negative implications on a long-term strategic plan.

2. Leadership Team Cohesion

Set business planning goals and share them with your team — the entire team. When your team clearly understands what you are trying to accomplish, their decisions will be made with the same intent in achieving the goals. These goals affect hiring, incentives, sales programs and other financially driven decisions.

3. Measure Success

Great organizations are always trying to improve, grow and become more profitable. Setting business planning goals provides the clearest way to measure the success of the company. As an owner looking at your company from a three- or five-year perspective, you are looking beyond the tactical side of your business and instead taking a much more macro view, allowing you to see the company from a competitive, broad perspective.

4. Reassess Goals

By setting goals and then monitoring your business against those goals, you can course correct as needed. For example, if you find your financial projections are not tracking like you had expected 4 to 6 months later, modify your revenue and expense targets to reflect how your business is trending. If you hadn’t set goals in the first place, this type of information is not as apparent and decisive action is more difficult.

Taking the time to look at your organization from a broader perspective provides greater confidence in what lies ahead and impacts the growth of your small business. No one can predict the future, but we can certainly plan for it.

Marie Shires

Marie Shires is a vice president and relationship manager for Seedcopa of Exton, a private nonprofit company that works with lenders to help small to mid-sized businesses in Pennsylvania obtain government loans. A native of Wyomissing, she works with economic development partners throughout Pennsylvania. She can be reached at mshires@seedcopa.com or 610-321-8245.

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