How Often Should You Rewrite Your Business Plan?
You put hours of sweat and tears into your business plan, and when it is finally laid out perfectly you don’t want to touch it again. You want to put it in the hands of investors and wait eagerly for their reactions. You have done your homework and gotten feedback from professionals you trust, and now you are finished with the planning phase of your business, right?
As much as you want to just be done with business planning, you are never really done. You are done for the short term, but you will need to update portions of your plan as time moves on. Eventually, your plan may need a complete rewrite in most sections as well. This can be just as time-consuming and anxiety-inducing as writing the original business plan.
When to Rewrite Completely
Most business plans are written to cover a specific span of time. For instance, if you are starting a brand new business your original plan may only cover the first year of your company’s existence. Alternatively, it may cover a couple years or five years. You made that decision while you were putting together the original plan.
When this original period of time comes to an end, you will need to rewrite your business plan to take it into the next phase of operations. Depending on the nature of your business and how you wrote the original plan, you may need to rewrite all sections, or just certain sections of the plan.
How often you need to perform a complete overhaul on the plan depends on what span of time the original plan was written to cover, and how much your business changes in that period of time.
If certain aspects of the business change dramatically, then you may find yourself rewriting before the original span of coverage is up. If nothing changes, then you may not need a complete rewrite until the original span of coverage comes to an end. Anytime something changes within the plan, you should do a bit of rewriting.
If your business plan was written to cover a year, do not wait until the first anniversary of the business to think about rewriting. You will need to get a jump on it early so you are ready to distribute for the next round of funding.
Short Term Touch-Ups
There may be short term goals within your business plan that need to be updated on a consistent basis. For instance, if your plan is written to cover the first year of business, there may be some goals for the first month, three months, or six months. As these goals or objectives are met, you should go back and update the appropriate sections of your business plan.
This is not a complete rewrite. You are simply keeping your plan up-to-date so investors know what you have achieved, and what is yet to come. They do not want to know what you originally planned six months ago if things have changed dramatically in that time frame. Make sure it is updated consistently, and then do a more thorough rewrite when you near the end of the original time-frame included in the plan.