It may be tempting to think that a family business can look after itself and doesn’t need a proper business plan – because everyone trusts each other.

That’s dangerous thinking. All businesses need an effective business plan to grow. This becomes a guide for the future and it can be referred to repeatedly in the following months and years to keep you on track with your goals.

Having helped a variety of family-owned businesses through their challenges and assisted them with developing their business plans, these four tips should help you get clearer on yours….

1. Develop your business roadmap 

The first things you need to be clear on when developing an effective business plan for a family business is where you are today (point A) and where you want to end up (point B).

This high-level planning will allow you to set your endgame and devise the roadmap for how you will start your journey to get from point A to point B.

Here you will need to define:

  • Your core purpose
  • Your ideal target customers
  • The numbers you need to achieve to get what you want
  • The main projects you need to put in place to achieve what you want
  • The individual actions you need to take to get each project across the line: who’s doing what and when (broken down into achievable goals)
2. Focus on building consistency in your business

In any business, consistency is KING.

Entrepreneurs and business owners have a tendency to jump from one idea to the next, without seeing each one through properly. ‘Shiny object syndrome’ is an entrepreneur’s kryptonite. It causes a loss of focus and takes away strength.

It’s usually better to stick to a strategy and see it out than to make rapid wholesale changes. Set your business plan for the year ahead and prioritise which problems need fixing and what can be improved.

If you do find a strategy, business tool, or piece of software that may be beneficial for the business, schedule it as an action item in your business plan to properly review later.

Who knows, by the time you look at it again, the shine may have worn off and you won’t have wasted your time or your money. However, if the solution is still worth exploring, you will have assessed it in a more considered way rather than jumping in too quickly.

3. Create a flexible business planning process

Don’t think of a business plan as a document you create at the start of a new year and then shelve until the next new year.

An effective business plan for a family business is part of an entire planning process that can be frequently revisited and reassessed.

In business, your circumstances will change so it’s important for you to build flexibility into your business plan and make the document itself editable.

We love Google Docs. It is the perfect place to put your business plan together. No fancy software required. You can share it, edit it, and update it daily, weekly or monthly; and it’s all safely stored and accessible when you or your team need it.   

Your family business plan may need multiple revisions because a business is never linear. Rather than moving in a straight line, there are up and downs, external forces, internal problems, team issues, and tons of other challenges you need to overcome.

It’s important your plan is solid but also that it can flex and bend as circumstances change.

4. Build accountability into your business plan

It’s no good writing a brilliant plan if there is no one beside you holding you accountable.

This is particularly important in a tightly knit family business, where it’s run on trust and accountability may be limited; a lack of guidance and direction can leave you wondering what steps and actions you should take next.

The person to help you create your family business plan and make sure you do what you say MUST be independent; and they must hold you accountable to the plan so they’ll come down on you hard if you don’t achieve your goals – as opposed to “there, there, dear, it’s okay”.  That’s soft advice and, in the competitive landscape of business, it won’t work.

Running a business is hard enough but if you don’t have a proper plan and execution strategy it makes it all the more difficult.

Without a plan, you will inevitably face confusion; and confusion leads to poor decision-making and this ultimately leads to a lack of results.

So, if you want to make positive changes to your business that provide the direction and control you’re looking for, start thinking about more effective business planning.

To start seeing the benefits of thorough business planning, call 02 8076 5990. See first-hand how to add true value to your business so that your family benefits for years to come.