Pull together your own team of experts to create a 2011 business plan that makes the most of your resources while setting your company up for growth.
Who would you put on a "dream team" of advisors to help you create or update your annual business plan? That's an important question to ask yourself now, when you're likely forecasting for the upcoming year and determining goals to keep your business growing. Here are a few of the groups that should be on your list.
Suppliers. Share appropriate and realistic information from your sales forecasts. If your business plan is based on stretch goals, sketch out the worst case and most likely scenarios for them. As you get closer to final ordering, sharpen your estimates.
Shipping partners. These companies can be great sources of innovation in getting products to customers. Your UPS rep, for example, can help your IT and purchasing staff automate data transfers that may otherwise waste time and keystrokes.
Bankers. Share your capital investment plans and estimated short-term borrowing needs so your banker can pursue advantageous credit options for you. Also, study how you bill customers and collect receivables to reduce short-term borrowing needs, and automate these processes, if you can, to save time and increase stability.
Tax advisor. Ask for information about reducing your tax liability and taking advantage of all the credits and deductions you are entitled to.
Employees. Start by sharing as much of your plan as you can with your staff, as early as possible. Ask for their input and let them know their experience and views are valued. Make sure everyone understands how their key performance indicators support the company's financial success, and reinforce how valuable your employees are to the company.
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