Updating Your Business Plan for the New Year: Why and How

If you have a business plan for your business, it should be a go-to resource when you’re trying to organize your finances or make informed decisions as a leader. If you don’t have a business plan, it’s a good idea to write one — this handy guide makes it easy. Either way, at some point, you’ll have to update your plan, but that’s not always priority one for a busy entrepreneur. The end of the year is a good reminder to take the time, refocus your thinking around the plan, and get ready to start 2019 reinvigorated.

The good news: Your plan, if you have one, probably doesn’t need a total overhaul. In fact, you’ll save time and energy if you focus your efforts. Below, find a list of the most common reasons for updating a business plan — and how to act on each one.

How to Update Your Business Plan

  • If tech changes the way you (or others in your field) do business: If the tech can lower your operating costs, or if it changes your customers’ expectations, note that.
  • If your competitors change: If a major competitor falls by the wayside or a new competitor appears, acknowledge those changes in your plan.
  • If you’ve hired more people: New hires will affect your cash flow but will also expand the time and resources available to grow your business, so adjust the relevant sections.
  • If you’ve lost customers: Have competitors, larger changes in your field, or unmet customer expectations caused the drop-off? Pinpoint the reason and name it.
  • If you’ve fallen short of goals: Adjust your financial goals or timelines to be more realistic. Ideally, you’d find underlying problems causing your missed goals and address it.
  • If your business is losing money: Adjust your financial forecast and find ways to reduce operating costs if possible.

With so many reasons to revise your business plan, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, but don’t worry. Follow the steps above, focus on what your readers need to see, and your plan will be in tip-top shape for 2019.