BECA: The interactive and rewarding process of business planning 

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Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) represents the country’s national network of Business Enterprise Centres, which provide on-the-ground support for business owners. Its CEO, Jackie Zelinsky, ran us through what she calls the ‘interactive process’ of business planning...

Jackie Zelinsky, CEO of Business Enterprise Centres Australia, smiles toward camera.

It doesn’t matter what business you are in, it can be hard work creating a business plan.

If you’ve never written a business plan before, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. It’s very easy to sit in front a blank piece of paper, scratch your head and give up.

However, business planning is a fundamental step for a small business, and one that should be seen as an interactive and rewarding process.

I’d consider the process of the planning just as important as the actual plan, because it allows you to track and measure your progress toward set goals. It gives you a better understanding of you business, areas that could be improved and any issues that you may have overlooked.

It’s about getting a clearer picture in your mind about where you want your business to go and how it’s going to get there.

If you don’t have a clear plan it makes it very hard to communicate your ideas to a business advisor, an investor or the bank. It’s important to have a physical plan that you can share with these third parties, as well as your employees.

But it doesn’t mean you have to prepare a billion pages of business planning information. Today, with new technology and a range of free online resources, business planning is about using a combination of different tools that help give a business owner the best chance of success

There are interactive tools that can get you get started, including the free business planning apps from business.gov.au. The Business Building Blocks is another great website, which includes free online learning resources for small business owners and employees, such as the ‘Build a Business Plan’ tool.

It’s easy to get lost in the planning process but, once you’ve started creating your plan, you can take it into your nearest Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) for guidance from one of our business advisors.

Our business advisors can help you through the more complex areas of planning. After all, business planning is an area of specialty and there are people that can help.

The BECs are a trusted source of expert advice and can help make your  business plan a valuable resource for your business.

Business planning is no longer about just putting pen to paper—it’s about integrating the resources that are now available. This is where I see the future. Tools like the Business Building Blocks website and business.gov.au’s new business planning apps are definitely a part of this process. In fact, these days, I’m seeing more people with tablets in meetings than with paper notebooks!

Business people are very time-poor, so whatever we can do to make it easier for them is going to be advantageous. And, an intuitive app that provides pop-up information and tips is a very good step in the right direction.