Small Business and Entrepreneurship
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Business Ethics

How often should a business plan be updated and why is updating a business plan necessary?

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2009-10-25 03:59:11
2009-10-25 03:59:11
Updating a Business Plan

All business plans should be regularly updated - whether weekly, monthly, semi-annually or annually. Every 8-10 months is what the experts recommend, as long as things have remained fairly stable. A business plan should always be updated when there are any major changes taking place. For instance, is there new, formidable competition? Is there heightened merger and acquisition activity in the marketplace? Are there new technologies that need to be accounted for? Another sign it's time for a tune-up is when major changes have or are occurring in the internal situation. The most obvious changes are transfer in ownership, which is usually the result of dissolving partnerships, divorce, deaths and investment; or on a more ominous note, when a company suffers significant declines in sales, profits and financial health. Short-term problems may require immediate revisions.

The reasons for updating a business plan should be pretty obvious. Business plans are full of specific dates, budgets, forecasts and management responsibilities, which all need to be reviewed and measured against actual results. From there, adjustments can be made. If certain projections turn out to be inaccurate, for example, you can modify your objectives and action plans to reflect the new developments. For investors, the business plan is what they buy into. It becomes the benchmark for accountability. They intend to hold management responsible for achieving the goals and objectives that are outlined in the plan.

The key reasons for Mission Statements, Buisness Plans and Budgets (short term as well as long term) are to provide your company direction. The key question to ask is "if you don't know where you want to go, how do you know you are on the right track to get where you want to go?". the Mission Statement provides the overall direction and purpose of your buisness, the Business and Strategic Plans provides specifics as to where you want to go and how you plan to get there, and the Budgets but numbers to paper (for example, how much you expect to make and how much you expect to spend to achieve those revenue goals). The budgets are then used to monitor progress towards your short and long term plans.

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