What is a SMART business plan?
Avoid bland meaningless statements when you're creating your business plan- they'll be no use at all! It's too easy to busy but not achieve very much so make your plan very specific to give focus to what you do.
So structure and meaning is what you're looking for in your plan. For example "I'm going to supply green widgets to bike shops in Hertfordshire using a local courier service. I'm going to charge £10.50 per widget with a minimum order of 200".
Now, in time, you may decide to stop supplying green widgets because there's a higher demand and higher profit margin to be made from supplying yellow widgets, or maybe there's a completely new product altogether. But that's fine, your plan should be a living breathing thing that you've got to improve and adapt to changes in the market, otherwise you'll find you don't have a business at all. Just be sure to go through a proper thinking and planning process so it makes real sense for your business.
Don't include anything in your plan you can't measure. You can aim to be the biggest/best/fastest and use that in your marketing messages, but don't hang your success on something that's impossible to measure. Include business measures such as how many widgets you'll manufacture, how many you're going to sell inthe first year, how many sales agents you're going to employ. If you can't measure results, how will you know you’ve achieved what you set out to do?
Set yourself achievable goals. Not so high that you'll never reach them, that'll de-motivate you and any staff you may have. Don't make it too easy though, or there won't be any challege or sense of achievement. Look at the market, the competition, the customers and their spending power, your suppliers, and what you're planning to do, and set yourself achieveable targets not impossible ones.
You plan's got to be realistic. Do you have, or can you get, the right resources? Do you have or can you learn the skills you'll need? Have you set realistic timeframes? Or do you need to get more staff, different skills or additional finance? If you do need more of anything it's best to know now and not 6 months down the line, just make sure it’s built into your costs.
It's got a Time limit
There's nothing like a time limit to help keep you on track! Give yourself a time deadline and set appropriate milestones along the way. You'll achieve more that way, and it'll stop you focusing on the day to day issues of running your business at the expense of achieving the bigger picture plan.