How to Keep Your Business Plan Alive

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Keeping your business plan alive is critical to the success of your business. Using your business plan as a management tool will guide your decision making and ensure that you stay focused on your goals and objectives. A living plan keeps you and your  team on the same page, helps you track your progress, and sets goals for your company and your team. Here are four simple steps you can take to keep your plan alive.

1. Track your Actual Results vs. Plan

Fortunately, LivePlan makes this easy with the Scoreboard feature. You can quickly enter your results from your accounting program for the past month or, if you use QuickBooks, LivePlan can automatically import your results.

Once you have entered your actual results from last month,  you can see where you are and where you need to go.  Are you exceeding your sales goals? Are you on budget?

2. Plan and track your Major Milestones

To achieve the results shown in your plan, you need to make sure that important accomplishments happen on time — and adjust your planning to accommodate changes. You can use LivePlan’s Schedule feature to keep your company on track.

Keep in mind that milestones can also be used for task management. For example, you can create a task, within the Milestone features, to set-up the legal structure for your business, or identify business targets, like securing 10 new clients for example.

3. Set up a monthly “Plan Review” meeting

While none of us wants to add more meetings to our schedule, this is one must-have meeting that is critical to keeping your business on track and headed in the right direction. Even if you are just a small team or just a “solo-preneur,” set aside one hour every month to open up your plan and review your progress.

If things aren’t going according to plan or are exceeding plan, now is the time to review what’s working and what’s not. Your plan is not set in stone, so re-adjust if you have to and set new goals for the next few months.

4. Don’t be afraid to adjust your plan

Real business planning is not just a static document, it is a planning tool that you use to guide decision making and adjust if necessary. Don’t think of your plan as a sacred document that can’t be adjusted. Instead, adjust it regularly, reassess your assumptions and update your plan every month if necessary.

Noah Parsons
Noah Parsons

Before joining Palo Alto Software, Noah Parsons was an early Internet marketing and product expert in the Silicon Valley. He joined Yahoo! in 1996 as one of its first 101 employees and become Producer of the Yahoo! Employment property as part of the Yahoo! Classifieds team before leaving to serve as Director of Production at He is a graduate of Princeton University.

Noah devotes most of his free time to his three young sons. In the winter you'll find him giving them lessons on the ski slopes, and in summer they're usually involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits.

Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of Outpost and the online business plan app LivePlan. You can follow Noah on Google+ or on Twitter.

Posted in Business Plan Writing