Small companies fail to see value in having business plan

As many as 29 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises don't have a business plan in place, research finds.

Of those that admit they do not have a business plan, the majority (43 per cent) say they don’t believe it is necessary, while almost a fifth say they prefer to keep plans in their head.

A further 15 per cent claim that it just isn’t a priority for them, according to a study by Close Brothers Asset Finance.

The figures are drawn from the results of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that canvasses the views of small to medium sized business owners and senior management.  

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance says, ‘It is somewhat concerning that so many small and medium-sized firms do not have a business plan as without clear direction, they may be missing out on opportunities for growth and not realising their full potential.

‘Planning is key to any business throughout its lifecycle. A formal plan can be an extremely valuable tool for managing and growing a business as it allows a company to recognise its strengths and weaknesses and ensure they have appropriate plans in place.’

The research also shows that of those firms that do rely on a business plan, almost two fifths review it at least once a year while a fifth review it once every two years. A further 14 per cent only review it once every two to five years.

Randall says that organisations of all shapes and sizes may benefit from a business plan however, a plan is only useful if it is reviewed regularly to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of the business. Therefore it is sensible to review current performance on a regular basis and identify opportunities for improvement and growth.

‘Of the companies we talked to that do have a business plan, the majority said they believe that financial strategy is the most important aspect of it,’ he adds.

‘Indeed, it’s vital that business owners take the time to plan and regularly review their financial strategy to ensure they have the right funding in place to meet the needs of their business, at its current stage of the business lifecycle.’

Further reading on business planning

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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