A business plan is a written document that outlines where your business has been, where it is going and how you are going to get there. They are important not only for the business owners, but all stakeholders in the enterprise.
They help convey the goals and direction of the business for employees, they provide financiers – like your bank – a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you will do it, they help you qualify for government assistance – like grants and subsidies and most importantly, they help your family clearly understand where your business is headed which is imperative for successful succession planning.
Business Plans are living documents – they change and grow with your business and the seasons. Often, I find that the business plan for the farming enterprise is stored in the producers head. Whilst this may be easy for the producer, it does not help any of the other stakeholders understand your goals and strategies.
The impact of this is felt not only in times of crisis – but in the everyday operations. It impacts how an employee operates on a daily basis, it impacts the success or otherwise of your succession plan and it can be a deciding factor in your ability – or inability – to obtain external financing for your business.
One of the difficulties faced by grazing enterprise that do not have a Business Plan was highlighted to me following the North Queensland Monsoon. Some producers were initially unable to access government support because they had no formal business plan in place which impaired their path to recovery and caused further stresses and anxiety that could have easily been avoided.
A Rural Financial Counsellor can help you navigate the process of preparing or reviewing your business plan.