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When to update a business plan

Business owners in Ohio may periodically need to review their business plans and ensure that they are current. A business plan is not simply a document that is written to secure funding for a business in its early days. It can serve a business owner throughout the life of the business by providing a foundation that can be reviewed and updated according to the business's changing needs. Business planning should be an ongoing task.

There are a number of reasons both positive and negative to update a business plan. Even negative events that trigger a business plan review can be viewed as challenges that may ultimately take a business to the next level. Having a product copied by a competitor, the departure of a key staff member or a change in relationship with a major vendor could trigger a review of the business plan. Changes in competitor tactics, regulations or the economy are also situations that signal a need for a review.

Positive changes that might require an update may include the acquisition of a major new customer or client or simply a readiness to expand. Losing a new customer may also require a review if that customer was a significant one.

The entire plan does not need an overhaul. Only the relevant sections need to be examined and potentially revised. It is also possible to review the plan and make a decision to stay the course. The important thing is that the plan as originally designed is not something that is simply followed blindly. As a business owner gains more experience and the market changes, the plan will need to as well. An attorney may be helpful in explaining changing regulations and other legal issues.

Source: B2C, "When is a Good Time to Review and Renew Your Business Plan?", Hal Shelton, July 26, 2014

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