Spring Clean your Business Plan

Update your goals and methods

At this time of year, we start to come out of the winter hibernation and we start to think about spring cleaning in the home, but also in our businesses. For many businesses here in the UK the company year runs from April to March, so plans and strategies get renewed focus.

When was the last time you revamped your business plan? It should be a living breathing document, not just one that is written to get the investment, but one that guides the business forwards.

How do you spring clean your business plan?

  1. Firstly, take a look at your PESTLE analysis. We live in a world where things change quickly. Most of us would have Brexit in the analysis, but how many (pre-Covid hitting a year ago) would have a socio-cultural or economic risk linked to a pandemic in there? War in Europe? (Russia invading Ukraine) Regulations and laws change, environmental solutions are being developed all the time. What has changed in there that is of benefit and of detriment to your company?
  2. After PESTLE review your competitor analysis. During Covid some companies have failed, some have pivoted to be almost unrecognisable, some have entered the market. So, double check your competitors and how you compare in this economically turbulent time. Are you more nimble, stronger or weaker, targeting the same verticals?
  3. Then have a look at your SWOT analysis. Opportunities and threats may have changed substantially during the last year. Opportunities outside of the EU are becoming slightly easier, but at the same time the new trade deals may lead to less barriers to entry to your UK market. Doing business with the EU may have got more difficult, more paperwork, duties to be paid, and 80% of your business was based in the EU and that has fallen. During the Covid period the company’s strengths may have become clearer to you – including ones you just weren’t aware of in the past. It may be the cash reserves that you have, it may be the flexibility in the team. From a weaknesses point of view it may be concentrating on verticals such as hospitality which have hit you hard, but you have found others to move into.
  4. Move on to taking a look at your marketing campaign results – what has been working, what has been failing? If it has failed, why? How can results be improved?
  5. Next, after looking at 1-4 revisit your business goals – which have been achieved already. They should be replaced with new goals to keep the business moving forwards. Which are struggling? Your analysis will tell you your real reasons for the struggle: is it external to the business (be honest here and not look for excuses if they are the cause of the issue); is it internal to the business – a lack of suitable staff, the wrong tactics chosen, a delay in a product launch / marketing campaign… Is a struggling goal SMART enough? If not, then rewrite it so that it is.
  6. Finally, inform your team of the revised business aims, the learnings that you have found, so that everyone in the business is on the same song sheet and can move the business forwards.

Not so onerous is it to spring clean your business plan, but if you do need help, then reach out to us and we’ll walk you through it.

[originally issued 1/4/21; edited 14/3/24]