We are currently preparing a business plan for a new service we are offering which will be overseen by a regulated body. We must prove that we can do it efficiently, professionally, and that it can be done profitably without cutting corners.

Although this necessary for us to be accredited it have become an especially useful tool for us to look at the business as a whole and see whether we are meeting our objectives, doing what we set out to do.

It is so easy in business to let things run away with you, become distracted and especially when the business is in its early stages it can be just a fight to survive and thrive. Then before you know it you have done five years and the business plan is still sat in your desk draw, covered in dust and unloved.

So, what is the ideal scenario for a business plan? Well, there is no harm in having a shortened version on the wall somewhere, so it is there as a constant reminder. It is also recommended that at least every twelve months you set a reminder in your diary to re-visit the plan to see if you are on schedule, ahead or behind so you establish what needs to be amended or does the plan need to be re-visited?

We are still coming through a worldwide pandemic which was difficult for anyone to predict, and I would doubt may businesses and organisations had factored Covid-19 into their business plans. However, this gives us a good reason to re-visit our business plans and adjust for such unprecedented circumstances.

One thing a lot of our clients found out during the first lockdown that their clients simply did not have the infrastructure in their business to pay outstanding invoices as no one was in the office to administer their payments.

We were asked several times to investigate how we could facilitate payments from their clients and although they had outstanding payments, we found that most of them were not intentional they were due to a lack of management due to the extreme situation we found ourselves.

We are now facing an uncertain future as businesses bring their staff back from Furlough particularly in the hospitality industry where the restrictions are causing havoc with the number of clients they can service or closures due to positive Covid tests.

When preparing your business plan does it include late payments and non-payments? You always must include these possible bumps in the road as they can have a substantial impact on your plans not now as well as in the future.

Would it be possible to include credit management in your plan so you can have some assurance of cash flow or make it more predictable?

To summarise, if you have a business plan how often doo you look at it or how often do you review it to either make sure you are on track or amend if necessary?