Sometimes things just don't go as planned. Sometimes you look at your business plan and wonder, “What was I thinking?” Sometimes even the most detailed business plan requires a makeover.

Revising a business plan isn't an admission of failure so don't be afraid to change it.

“I think budgets, forecasts and business plans are all dynamic,” says Frank Margarella, president of Premier Club Consultants. “You have to adjust.”

Business plans can change for several reasons. Generally, however, they change because of a negative factor. Either a program didn't take off as anticipated or a valued staff member left to start his or her own club taking members with him or her. The club owner then needs to figure out what to do to recoup lost revenue or members whether that involves cutting staff, decreasing club hours, postponing a remodel or expansion or changing the marketing plan to promote other programs.

“To stick with a business plan in the middle of some unforeseen changes would be worse than making changes,” Margarella says.

Here are some tips on rewriting your business plan.

  • Know what a business plan is

    A business plan is a roadmap of how to do business in the next fiscal year, says Margarella. It is a prediction based on research, not simply a budget (although a budget is part of a business plan). Unfortunately, too many club owners don't even have a business plan, says Margarella. A business plan should have a philosophical plan and a financial plan. A business plan for an existing business should include:

    Mission statement or vision statement
    Market analysis
    Marketing plan
    Income projections

  • Make the business plan palatable

    A club owner should get input on the business plan from others within the club.

    “Everybody should have their handprints on the business plan,” Margarella says. “You will say, ‘Here’s what some of my assumptions are. Either accept them or disprove them.'”

    In the end the financial people and the top management in the company need to sign off on the plan before you put it in place.

  • Do your homework

    A constant review of your numbers will show you whether your projections have been on or off.

    “That again would be strengthened by getting more people involved,” says Margarella. “The exchange of ideas usually strengthens what your final product would be.”

  • Update yearly

    Even if your business plan is a three-year or five-year plan, you need to update it yearly, particularly if you have a lender, many of whom require yearly updates, Margarella says. In addition, you will want to look at your personnel, financial and market share areas of the plans on a quarterly basis, he says.

  • Get help if you need it

    There are plenty of reference books about putting together business plans, but if you need help devising the plan or updating it, then don't hesitate to contact a consultant who can walk you through the steps. The monetary expenditure would be worth it, Margarella says.

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