A business plan is no good if it’s not used

By Paul Pavli

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business plan Management

Pavli: "Check wihether your business plan is still relevant"
Pavli: "Check wihether your business plan is still relevant"
In my role I visit hundreds of pubs every year and one question I always ask the business owner is: “What are you trying to achieve in your pub — what goals do you have for your business and how will you know how you are doing?”

I am asking, in the politest way possible, if they have a business plan and when they last reviewed it.

It both fascinates and frustrates me that business people go to all the trouble of preparing business plans to raise money from a bank or convince a landlord they have great ideas so they will be given a chance to take the pub on. They then sink their life savings into it only to start trading and within weeks forget all the great ideas they had planned.

No matter if you have one or 21 sites, you need to have measurements in place to assess what you set out to achieve all those months ago in the planning stage, and to make sure that your team are clear on what you want to achieve, what the goals are and how you want them to execute the plan with you.

If you have a business, when did you last review your business plan? Is it still relevant and what would you change about it now? Are there new threats in the area or even new opportunities due to business closures? How would you approach your plan today now that you know more about the pub you are in? Will your business plan still bring in customers to spend money while ensuring they enjoy the experience and keep coming back?

Step back and look at what you are doing now and decide if you need to do anything differently. Be your own customer and ask existing and potential customers what they think of your business. Think about making a few small changes initially rather than one big one (unless that one big one is worth the risk). Measure yourself and your team against the plan regularly and remember to tell your staff how the business is doing.

Consider how you will reward your team at each important milestone and how you will reward yourself — it’s essential everyone stays motivated and on plan.

No business can afford to stand still and some of the best pubs I see spend a lot of time looking at what they could do better and what the competition — which includes the likes of coffee shops and restaurants, not just pubs — are up to.

It is a cliché, but it’s essential to work on, not just in your business — so dig out your business plan and spend a couple of hours going through it, making changes to ensure it is still relevant to your business, that your team are all on board with your vision and that you set milestones along the way. It could be the most profitable couple of hours you ever spend.

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