It’s a simple question, with many versions of an answer.

About 50% of independent business owners will most likely be shaking their heads right now, and moving onto something else to read.  Maybe 30% of you will be nodding cautiously , because you did one for that bank loan about x years ago but in all honesty haven’t looked at it since.

Another 15% of you will be nodding with a bit more vigour, because you did do one at the turn of the year, but if you’re honest you can’t actually put your hands on it right now, nor are you entirely sure what was in it.

And the remaining 5% of you are absolutely on it – patting yourselves on your back because you have a written business plan full of SMART goals and objectives, broken down into quarterly action plans which you have displayed on the noticeboard beside you, actively reviewing progress as you go along and adjusting your targets and activity to suit the current levels of growth.

To me, the key to business success – no matter what size the business and what scale the ambition – is knowing where you’re going, planning how you’re going to get there, and monitoring progress along the way.  Without a living, breathing business plan, you are driving your business – and your future and the future of your employees, customers and suppliers – completely blind.

A workable business plan does not need to be War and Peace.  In fact, if you can’t fit it on two sheets of A4, you’re probably not doing it right.  Getting to grips with the planning process and the planning cycle is difficult for busy business owners, but with the right support and toolbox you can get there quite simply.  Sign up for your free month’s trial of Small Business Masterclass to get a taste of how it can be.