When is the last time you consulted your business plan? If it's been filed away since you opened for business, you may be missing out on a powerful tool - one that is useful at all stages in the lifecycle of your business.

Regularly reviewing and updating your business plan is a valuable exercise. An up-to-date business plan provides you with a snapshot of your current position and can help you develop a road map for future growth. It can also help you stay focused on your goals and objectives, adapt to changing market conditions, and inspire your employees.

If you're starting a business, a business plan can help you:

  • Test the viability of your idea
  • Sell your idea to lenders and investors
  • Clarify your objectives and set goals for the future

If you're growing your business, a business plan can help you:

  • Discover opportunities for change and growth
  • Secure the financing you need to expand
  • Assess your performance against the targets you have set

If you are selling your business or passing it on to friends or family, a business plan can help you:

  • Establish the value of your business
  • Develop a plan to transfer ownership, sell, or close your business
  • Create a transition strategy

Effective business plans are monitored and updated as your business - and the environment in which it operates - changes. Taking the time to review your plan on a regular basis can give you the clarity and direction you need to succeed. Many entrepreneurs update their business plan on an annual basis, but you may want to review it more often if your business is going through a period of change.

To learn more about the benefits of ongoing business planning, visit our Business planning frequently asked questions page. For more information on creating and updating your business plan, check out the Writing your business plan section.