All businesses should have a business plan no matter what stage they’re at. Whether you’re creating a small side-hustle such as a blog or Etsy store supplement your income,, or trying to build a huge empire to become a millionaire – you need a plan.
In business the “grow or die” attitude can be commonplace, it doesn’t always push the business in the right direction. But whatever the aims, the “always have a plan” attitude is a good one!
In this post, let’s look at processes with regards to keeping on track of business plans and how you might be able to use it in yours if you’re also on the journey of a solo entrepreneur.
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Writing regular update reports can help
Each week I personally write a quick report on how last week went. It doesn’t contain any numbers such as revenue, it’s about the actions taken and work completed. I find writing down the positives and negatives helps me channel my energy for the week ahead. It’s a tactic I use to try and keep me going forward on the right path with MoneyCortex.com and the rest of my business.
Do you write reports on how your business is going? Give it a try if you don’t. Create a template to keep it consistent each week. It’s beneficial to keep track of how things are going. Whatever method you settle on, make sure it works for you over the long term.
Keep the business plan on track
Writing a report every week can work perfectly. Depending on your business and what you do though it may not be a suitable timescale. Perhaps a monthly report would suit better.
Using Microsoft Word or Google Docs (free) is an easy way to write regular business reports, but you could use whatever software you want.
The whole point of doing it is to keep the business plan on the right path. You shouldn’t write a full two-year plan including all the finances and projections only for it to be forgotten or ignored within months!
Create a template for consistency and efficiency
Using a template can help create consistency and only focus on what matters. There’s no need to write a full diary after all!
Keeping things concise is important. For example, one of my sections asks “Have you re-read the full business plan this week to keep it fresh in the mind?”. I have to write in a simple yes or no answer and can also write one sentence if I have to give a reason why I haven’t read it.
If I go a few weeks not even glancing over my business plan then I get frustrated with myself. But what I find is it actually has a beneficial effect. Having been self-employed for over 10 years it amazes me how long it’s taken to work out what’s optimum for me. But I guess the phrase “some people never learn” exists for a reason. At least I’ve learnt eventually in this instance!
Find the balance between awareness and insignificance
If I read something too many times I become numb to it. It’s like it takes on insignificance. It’s almost like if I read a monthly target is to post 20 new blog posts, and I get behind on that target and keep seeing the target, in my mind, I start to think, “Yeah yeah yeah whatever, I know it’s meant to be 20 new blog posts.” That’s especially true if it’s amongst other targets too.
That’s why it can be beneficial to glance at your business plan now and again. There can be an art to balancing out awareness of what has to be done without becoming immune to it.
Regularly reading your business plan and writing reports as to whether you are on track is a good thing. But reading your plan so often you become numb to it is definitely a bad thing. Find the right balance for you.
Your turn to act
Don’t read this article and do anything about it. Decide for yourself; will doing a weekly or monthly report help keep my business plan on the right track?
If it’s something that could help then do a trial. Perhaps try it for 4 weeks. For example, if you want to do it every week then schedule to write your report on a Monday morning for the next 4 weeks. Be sure to create a template so that each week is consistent and it’ll help you be concise.
Ideas of what to include in your business report template
Here are some questions that could be asked in your business report:
- Have I re-read my business plan for freshness this week?
- What progress has been made to maintain momentum?
- Are financial projections on track for this month and is any immediate action required next week for cashflow reasons?
- Did I complete all routine aspects of the business correctly?
- Any reactionary steps needed to events this week or current levels of business activity?
Those are some rough ideas. It’ll be entirely dependant on what your company does and how you go about your day-to-day running. An e-commerce website will be quite different from someone with a side hustle trying to make an extra $100 per week.
They’re the sort of questions that can be good to ask each week to keep things on track. They might be able to get you started no matter your business type or niche.
Hopefully this article helps. Thanks for reading.