Is It Okay To Deviate From Your Business Plan?

Is It Okay To Deviate From Your Business Plan?

When you’re writing your business plan, you may find yourself wondering if you are restricting yourself by planning everything in advance. You’re writing out your goals, what you want to achieve, your financial forecast, and what problems you foresee your business coming up against. But what if you change your mind about something? What if you decide a few months down the line that your online business is losing too much money through offering free delivery? Or what if you realise that the neighbourhood where you’ve set up your new bakery isn’t the best place for offering croissants, and the locals are more partial to a nice sticky bun? Is it okay to deviate from your business plan and do something a little differently? The answer is usually yes!

It’s fine not to predict every roadblock that your business may stumble upon – in fact, it’s impossible to know everything that’s going to happen, and if you could make such predictions about things that are out of your control, you would be very rich indeed! There is risk involved in every business, and sometimes you’re going to try something and it’s not going to work out. Under no circumstances should you carry on with something that isn’t working simply because it’s written in your business plan.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Your plan is typed on paper, not set in stone, and while you should always be referring to it to ensure that you meet the goals you have set yourself, there is always room for revision. In fact, while your main goals are unlikely to change, if you’re continuously checking your progress you should be considering whether you need to make any changes to your plans in order to meet those goals. You might realise that you simply aren’t going to meet your sales targets unless you switch your focus to sticky buns, and if that means stopping croissant production completely, then so be it.

Make Informed Decisions

But make sure that your decisions are informed – don’t say “au revoir” to croissants just because they’re a bit trickier to make or because you’re bored of them. Stop making croissants because you’re not selling any of them, and you always sell out of sticky buns before midday. Stop making croissants because the price of butter has gone through the roof. Make decisions that have good business reasoning behind them.

Consider the Implications

Once you have made the decision, consider the implications it will have on the rest of your business – is there anything else you will need to change? What is going to replace croissants? You might have some spare cash which was once allocated for croissant ingredients but could now be put to other use. Would your clientele prefer some different breakfast options, like a nice bacon butty? How will these changes affect your profits?

Document Everything

Write down what’s changing and why, and what effect it will have on your business. The changes you make may come with their own objectives. For example,  you’re now selling bacon sandwiches instead of croissants, because the croissants are unpopular, losing you money, and your customers have requested bacon sandwiches on many occasions. You are hoping that this will have a positive effect on your profits, and the objective of this change is to increase profits on your breakfast offerings by a certain percentage over the next quarter. Your new plan should have guided you to a realistic figure, as you will have compared the costs for croissants and bacon sandwiches, figured out how much profit you will make on this new product, how many you would need to sell to reach your target, and so on. All this is to say that you’ve found a problem, made an informed decision on how to improve, considered the consequences and perceived benefits, and made a record of everything. You may even have a back-up plan in case this one doesn’t work out.

Although you have written a new part of your business plan, you should also keep the old version of your original plan for reference in case you need it in the future.

cbm can help you to write your business plan, whether you’re just getting started, or taking an existing business in a new direction. Contact us online or call 01604 420 420 for more information.

Share this blog