Getting a yearly physical at the doctor’s office. Getting a semi-annual check-up at the dentist’s office. Getting your car serviced when it hits a certain mileage. These are life tasks we are accustomed to doing in order to maintain the overall health of ourselves and our possessions while keeping everything running smoothly.
Similarly, entrepreneurs need to complete certain tasks to maintain the overall health of their business. One of those tedious but critical tasks is creating a business plan — a strategic tool for entrepreneurs to map out their short-term and long-term objectives. Often this formal business plan is shared with stakeholders, employees, and investors. A more informal business plan could simply consist of your upcoming goals and how you intend to reach them.
On December 17, 2018, we asked our Twitter audience about how far in advance they make business plans as an entrepreneur. Below are the results:
Of our respondents, 43 percent voted that they plan their business annually, while 36 percent said they plan quarterly and 21 percent voted that they plan monthly.
There is no right answer to how far in advance you should plan your business. Some businesses demand more preparation and time invested on the front end, while others require less. Sometimes there are specific goals you or your investors are trying to meet, but other times you can reach your own goals with less structure in place.
In any case, we recommend doing your research before you start crafting your business plans. There are plenty of insightful resources that discuss business planning. For example, The 12 Week Year offers advice on how to get more done in 12 weeks than in 12 months — which may be useful if you’re looking for big growth in a shorter timespan.
Here are some of Incfile’s blog posts discussing various topics relevant to business planning that may be a great resource for you:
- 10 Keys to a Successful Business Plan
- Focus on Expanding Your Business This Year With These 3 Tips
- Incfile Data: Popular Business Industries in 2018 and What We Predict in 2019
- Tax Planning for Startups & New Businesses Forming a Corporation
- It Could Be Easier Than Ever for You to Start That Business Now
- 2018’s Leadership Advice From the World’s Best Entrepreneurs to Take Into 2019
- How Can I Add Members to My LLC?
- Growing Beyond a Solopreneur: Hiring a Strong Team
- How to Write a Business Plan for Your Food Truck Business
- Guide to Creating a Real Estate Investing Business Plan
- Starting an LLC Gives Entrepreneurs Flexibility for Future Plans
- Why Your Small Business Should Start a Retirement Plan Now
- Use This Guide to Create a Fitness Business Plan
Whether you are planning monthly or annually, make sure your business plan is thoughtful, detailed and action-oriented. Consider your goals for 10 minutes from now as well as 10 years from now. You can use a comprehensive business plan as a source of wisdom and guidance to ensure you stay the course you crafted for your business.