As a general rule, a business plan should assume that a business endeavor takes twice as long as anticipated and accomplishes half of what it was intended to. A slow start can happen if an employee stole money, if marketing dollars did not reach the right consumers or if a shipping option turned off customers. Whatever the setback may be, business owners are better off planning for them as well as planning for success.
Ideally, a business will allocate 10 percent more money to its budget than the amount that is forecast. It may also be a good idea to reduce the sales prediction amount by 10 percent as well to compensate for not acquiring customers as fast as planned. Taking these steps makes it easier to handle cash flow and other issues during times when actual results differ from the company's projected earnings or customer acquisition rates.
There are other scenarios that a company should plan for such as a natural disaster or an economic downturn. Business owners should consider what would happen if customers took longer to pay or if a flood or blizzard made it impossible to continue operations. Planning now for such scenarios makes it easier to be proactive about getting in touch with employees, customers and vendors as soon as possible. This can lay the groundwork for effective communication until the crisis is resolved.
New business owners and anyone else who has legal concerns about growing a business may wish to talk with an attorney about those questions. Legal counsel may be helpful in drawing up business contracts as well as defending them in court or elsewhere. Having an attorney may also make it easier to search for existing patents and trademarks, which may decrease the odds of infringing on another company's intellectual property.