Is it time to revise your business plan?


Para la versión en español, oprima aquí. Jessie Eby contributed to this blog.

Writing a business plan is likely one of the first steps you’ll take in launching the business of your dreams, but it’s not a “one-and-done” task. If you haven’t revisited your business plan in a while, it might be time to take a look.

You probably wrote your plan with an idea in your mind and a dream in your heart, but after a few years (or months) in the trenches, you may have realized that things don’t always go according to plan. Nobody can predict the future, and many things outside of our control can affect your business. Having a plan in place is great, but being flexible and adaptable in times of change is key to success.

Why do I need a business plan?

In addition to being integral for sourcing and securing funding for your business, your business plan also serves as a roadmap. If you’ve ever planned a trip, you know the goal is to get from point A to point B, but occasionally there are detours and unforeseen obstacles along the way. Running a successful business is no different; you can map for success, but you need to be prepared in case of detours, or worse, dead ends. You’ll rely on your business plan to help you determine your next steps, strategize, and measure your success.

Why would I need to revise my business plan?

The “unforeseen changes” and “unprecedented times” business owners have survived in the past five years are truly remarkable. From flooding and other natural disasters to a global pandemic, we’ve all been reminded of how little control we have over anything beyond our own efforts. Circling back to your business plan and adjusting it to reflect current economic conditions can position your business for future success. Unplanned changes, whether in your personal life or shifts in the overall economic landscape, can lead to varying short-term and long-term impacts on your business success.

It’s important to review and potentially revise your business plan to prepare for the long-term and short-term effects these bumps in the road can have on your business.

Short-term effects on your business’ success

Some challenges might only affect your business in the short term. You may need to adjust your hours to accommodate a different target market or work around a staffing shortage. Perhaps supply chain issues have you reconsidering the goods or services you’re able to offer. The overall goal is to determine the most cost-effective way to operate your business to make it through the difficult time until things return to normal.

Long-term effects on your business’ success

Some unplanned changes leave a lasting impact. Consider the pandemic; many businesses have moved online and employed remote workers as a result. Your business may face hurdles that require a short-term change that you find becomes a long-term change.

How often should I review my business plan?

You should review your plan any time your business undergoes a change or endures an economic or environmental event that affects it or your target market. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of reviewing your business plan every six months to evaluate your success and assess your progress.

Being a small business owner requires perception and flexibility. None of us can predict the future, but being able to spot changes, pivot, and adapt to accommodate them will help secure the future of your business.

Feature photo: Our loan specialists and business development specialists can assist you in determining changes to your business plan. Loan Specialist Becky Parker, at left, assists Elizabeth Cahil, owner of After Hours Repair, in North Platte, Nebraska. Find your loan specialist here or contact our Women's Business Center at or 402.870.1521.  |  Photo by Kylie Kai