You've done excellent planning and your business is up and running. Your business plan served you well while you launched your business, but where is it now? Have you left it to gather dust or have you taken the time to make it an ever-evolving document that you can refer to for future planning?

A business plan can be a useful tool throughout the many stages of your business' lifecycle. Are you looking for new investors or additional financing, planning to open a second location or increasing your product lines? Keeping your business plan up-to-date can help you forecast and plan the future of your business with more confidence.

Ask yourself questions — where do you see your business going? Have your goals or your focus changed since you created your initial plan? Take a look at each section of your business plan and review it on a regular basis. Some of the sections that may be worth updating annually (or more frequently if necessary) are:

Business strategy

  • Should you revisit your long-term plans, vision and brand?
  • Have there been changes in the regulations affecting your business?
  • Do you want to be more eco-friendly?
  • Do you need a growth plan?

Marketing strategy

  • Should you be targeting different client groups?
  • Should you increase your use of social media channels?
  • What are your competitors doing or have they changed?

Operational plan

  • Do you need new equipment, software?
  • Are you planning for innovation or growth?
  • Has your supply arrangement changed?

Human resources plan

  • Is it time to hire employees or increase your management team?
  • Do you have a plan for additional HR costs and training?
  • What skills will you require to achieve future growth?

E-business strategy

  • Do you need to make modifications or start adopting new Internet technologies?
  • Is your website/ecommerce platform leading to conversions?

Financial forecast (could be updated monthly to help analyze the health of your business)

  • Have your financial projections changed?
  • Did a change in the economy alter your financial situation?
  • Do you need to make changes to products and prices now that you have actual financial figures?

Things can change quickly so having an updated business plan can help you be proactive rather than reactive. Be prepared and aware and keep your business moving in the right direction.

Get more information on business planning and preparing a business plan for growth.