Using Your Business Plan to Monitor Progress

Schedule Periodic Business Check-ups

Schedule Periodic Business Check-ups

Many factors that affect your business are tied to an annual cycle. To ensure that your business plan continues to serve you well, make it a habit to update it annually. Set aside a block of time near the beginning of the calendar year, fiscal year or whenever is convenient for you.

Review Your Data to Assess Business Performance

Compare your expected results against your actual results. Because your business plan sets forth marketing, operational and financial milestones, you should carefully analyse actual operating results against the goals and objectives established in your plan.

Fine-tune Your Plan

Parts of your business plan may feel very tight and others still may need some work. Look for ways to improve what you’ve done so far. Incorporate the experience you’ve gained as a business owner into your business plan. Anticipate future events-good and bad-that may affect your business. Take appropriate action if goals outlined in your plan haven’t been met.

Get Help From Others

After you change and update your business plan, share it with an advisor.

Strive to Operate Your Business According to Your Plan

Your business plan is a working document that will work for you if you use it to remind yourself and your team where you are going and how you will get there. Whether you’re updating your business plan for the first time or the 20th, treating your business plan as a dynamic document that evolves over time proves to yourself and others that you understand your business and you know what is required to make it grow and prosper.

Define the Duties.

To find promising employees, you must first determine what you want them to do. Carefully consider all direct and associated responsibilities and incorporate them into a written job description.

Be careful with general titles such as typist or sales clerk, as they have different meanings to different people.

and What it Takes to do Them

Fulfilling these responsibilities will require some level of skill and experience, even if it is an entry-level position. Be reasonable about your expectations.

Setting the bar too high may limit your available talent pool; setting it too low risks a flood of applications from those unqualified for the job.

Make it Worth their While

Likewise, you don’t want to be overly generous or restrictive about compensation. State and local chambers of commerce, employment bureaus and professional associations can help you determine appropriate wages and benefits.

Scanning descriptions of comparable jobs in the classified ads and careers websites will also provide clues about prevailing wage rates.

Spread the Word

How you advertise your job opening depends on who you want to attract. Some positions are as easy to promote as posting a “help wanted” sign in your store window or placing an ad in your local newspaper.

For jobs requiring more specialised skills, consider targeted channels such as trade magazines, online careers sites and employment agencies (though these may require a fee). And don’t overlook sources such as friends, neighbours, suppliers, customers and present employees. 

Hiring the Right People

Talk it Over
Because you have clearly defined the role and requirements, you should have little difficulty identifying candidates for interviews. Make sure you schedule them when you have ample time to review the resume, prepare your questions and give the candidate your undivided attention.

After the interview, jot down any impressions or key points while they’re still fresh in your mind. This will be a valuable reference when it’s time to make a decision.

Follow-up on Interviews

You want to believe your candidates are being honest, but never assume. Contact references to make sure you’re getting the facts or to clear up any uncertainties.

Professional background checks are a wise investment for highly sensitive positions, or those that involve handling substantial amounts of money and valuables.

You’ve Found Them; Now Keep Them

Now that you’ve hired ideal employees, make sure they stay with you by providing training and professional development opportunities.

Source: Entrepreneur Mag SA

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