The Best Business Plan Advice I’ve Ever Received

Lauren Powell

If you’re aspiring to start your own business, as many of us are, an exceptional business plan is fundamental to your success. A business plan is a written description of the future of your business and outlines everything from your business concept and strategy to your goals and financial needs. Five successful female entrepreneurs and business owners have shared their top business plan advice to give you invaluable insights and the head start (or push!) you need now. Scroll down for first-hand business plan tips from these inspiring women.

Taryn Williams, Founder and Managing Director of WINK Models

PHOTO: Courtesty of Wink Models

"The best business plan advice I've been given is to ensure that once you spend all that time, energy, and focus putting the plan together and doing the projections is to actually use it! Too often, business owners will say, “Great! Job done!" and then throw it in the bottom draw to gather dust forever more. You need to view your business plan as a living document that you refer to regularly, and it’s a key document in ensuring your organisation is accountable to your goals and projections. As you take away key learnings from the day-to-day of your business, update your plan and use this knowledge to make the document stronger.”

Sarah Cichy, Founder and Director of Piccolo PR

PHOTO: Jacqui Turk

“It’s foolish to think success has anything to do with luck and that it will just fall into place. To avoid bumps and bruises along the way, a business plan will help define what success looks like to you so you can grow organically and with authenticity. If you’re not confident in an area of the business, overcompensate, roll up your sleeves and learn more than your competitors.  

Most importantly, find the confidence in your voice and in your work to make a decision and see what happens. If you don’t you’ll never start––or better yet, someone else will!”

Caitlin Barrett, CEO of Love Mercy Foundation

“Running a not-for-profit has become like running a commercial business. That was the best business plan advice I’ve been given, and after hearing it 6 months ago Love Mercy has increased in size, scope and sustainability, which has a huge flow-on effect for our ladies in Northern Uganda. After linking with a mentor from the corporate sector, our business plan completely changed. I have learned not to be scared of big goals, but to run towards them––fast. Our business plan is now more precise with key annual fundraising goals. All the other smaller distractions have been left behind. We are taking more calculated risks and working really hard to invest into our passionate and growing team. Above all, our plan is founded on two rules––don’t be too scared to break the rules, and to believe in myself as a leader. Women in Uganda are now accessing seed loans sooner than they otherwise would have, which means the plan must be working!”

Terri Winter, Owner and Founder of Top3 By Design

PHOTO: Courtesy of Top3 by Design

“Ensure your business plan is written concisely and without too much embellishment and sales speak. The business plan should not need to sell the idea––it should validate it. Even if you don’t need it for investment, writing out your ideas ensures your goals and objectives are clear and gives you a roadmap to help keep you on the right path. Any map should also be flexible enough to take up opportunities if they arise. The business plan should be a tool to grow––not to constrict your vision.”

Angela Honeywell, Owner of St Elmo Dining, Liberty Trading Co. and The Candle Library

PHOTO: Courtesy of St Elmo Dining

“The best business plan advice I have ever been given (other than to actually have one), is to be realistic with your plan. Even though your business might be a great idea and have potential, it’s not going to take off from day one. It’s easy to get carried away and caught up in the momentum. You need to plan accordingly, and be conservative with your financial estimates to avoid disappointment. Allow your business the time it needs to become successful.

The other thing that I have learnt to incorporate in to a plan, particularly with a small business, is to allow for assistance from other people; whether it is hired staff or outsourcing. Whilst you may think you can do it all, there’s no need to out that extra stress on yourself––your time is precious.

All of that said, whilst I do think it is great to have a business plan, there is something to be said for just going with your gut instinct. Don’t be afraid to veer from the plan, either!”

Shop some of our favourite career and business books for further inspiration. 

Have you started your own business? What is your best business plan advice? Share with us in the comments below. 

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