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Managing change through your business plan

Futurpreneur | July 26, 2011

Christiana Mbazigwe, Duric Business Solutions, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor

Business plan adaptation is about a business owner’s ability to adjust to changes in the internal and external environment of business. It’s very crucial that entrepreneurs have the ability to foresee future events so as to plan ahead and be ready to manage the changes that may occur in business. Business plan adaptation is based on the fact that business is impacted either positively or negatively, directly or indirectly by so many factors. Change is inevitable and so change management skill is “a must have” for any business owner or entrepreneur.

According to Tanya Sarakinis who turned her nursing profession into a successful company with business planning, a good business plan gives structure and substance to an idea. Tanya had a strong business plan from the start, capitalizing on a simple idea with a clear purpose and market. Then she adapted her plan to answer new demands as they arose. Her company is now expanding from Hamilton area into Toronto and this will lead to a positive change in her company’s sales/revenues. Her ability to respond to change inside and outside the business has led to her business growth.

A UK-based survey company reported that, in response to the impacts of climate change, one third of global businesses have made active changes to their business which had generated new revenue particularly in the professional services and consulting sector, where this figure rose to nearly a quarter. This resulted from their adapting to climate change. Businesses operate in a climate of uncertainty involving risks, hence the importance of business adaptation for business survival and growth. Business adaptation relates to risk management and emergency or contingency planning. In business planning, it is critical to identify and evaluate the various risks involved in doing a particular business and be able to plan well on how to manage them effectively. Many businesses have failed or are at risk of failure because they did make business adaptation a critical consideration. Changes in consumer tastes and preferences, technology, environment, culture, economy, legislation and other factors must all be considered in the business planning process.

The business plan as a living document for the organization. It needs regular review because of the changes that occur in the environment, which may affect business performance. As such, continuous monitoring and evaluation of the business performance is necessary. It is necessary to put in place not only key performance indicators (KPIs) for effective monitoring and evaluation, but also adaptation measures. Easier adaptation would be possible if the risk management aspect of a business plan has been well-articulated and included in the plan. The business owners should endeavor to work with business planning experts who could predict likely future business situations or conditions that may affect their business.

The need for business plan adaptation suggests the need for business professionals, business owners/entrepreneurs and other business people to engage in life-long education to acquire the requisite skills, expertise and know-how to continuously contribute to overcoming the global business challenges such as global warming (due to climate change), flood, draught, earthquakes, wild fires, accidents, change in technology and so on. It’s therefore important that the risk analysis and management, as well as adaptation/emergency plan be part of the key evaluation criteria of a good business plan.