As the new year draws closer and closer, we want to support the local business by helping craft the perfect business plan to ensure your success in 2016! If you haven’t gotten a chance to read our other blogs in this series, you can start by reading Getting Started with your Business Plan, Writing your Business Plan, and Planning for Your Business. This time, we are going to wrap up with finalizing our plans, so let’s go over everything you’ll need to know to wrap up your business plan and put it to use.
As the new year is nearly upon us, it’s important to have a budget in place before your year kicks off. At Paradiso Insurance, we believe that every insurance agency or business must have a budget specifically designated for marketing as well, but let’s just go over the fundamentals of business budgeting for now. First things first, you have to understand that budgeting isn’t just about numbers or crazy excel sheets; it’s more about people and getting them involved. Crafting a budget takes time and data, but enforcing or managing a budget is a team effort. Successful budgeting really requires managing the people who are involved.
For every item on your budget, there has to be a person in your business associated with it as the “owner” of the item. That owner will be responsible for all of the expenditures involved with the item listed on your budget, and it’s up to you to make them aware. You have to get your team to believe in it, because if they don’t, they won’t implement it efficiently. You have to explain the purpose behind your budget, the limits, and the leniency, and empower the people responsible for expenditures. When an employee owns a budgeted item, it gives them authority, so make sure you delegate budgeted items to your most responsible or trusted employees. Also, don’t forget, your budget should be realistic, and everyone needs to be on the same page. Someone who doesn’t understand a budget’s limits won’t be very cautious when it comes to spending the company’s cash.
Once you have your staff on board with your budget planning, be sure to follow up with them routinely to make sure everything is going as planned. There is one other thing to think about with your budget though, and that’s that it works hand in hand with your milestones. When planning your budget, make sure you consider your timeframe, responsibilities, and goals. You’ll want to assign your budget item “owners” to people on your staff that directly correlate with each given milestone. You’ll also want to let them know when and why they should be spending money, which should also be based on your milestones.
The other key point you’ll want to focus on when implementing your plan is to execute a SWOT analysis. SWOT is a way to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that you will encounter along the way. Your strengths and weaknesses really depend on your company and your internal processes as an organization. Opportunities and threats are more controlled by outside sources, so it’s important you keep a close eye on your marketspace, this way you can identify both threats and opportunities in advance, and plan accordingly.
For a business that is already established, you can conduct a SWOT analysis at any point in time to see what your next strategic step should be. For a business that is just starting up, a SWOT analysis should be a huge part of crafting your initial plan, so that you don’t set yourself up for failure. If you’d like to get started on your own SWOT analysis, bplans.com has provided an excellent template that should help you get things started. Remember, if you need help with ongoing protection with a Connecticut business insurance policy specifically catered to your needs, you can contact any of our professional agents at any time.