There is an old saying about how it is better to build your house on a foundation of stone than a foundation of sand. This may be true for houses, but it is not necessarily true for businesses. Your business plan may be the foundation of your company, but having it carved into stone may be detrimental to the growth of your business. Your business plan should be a fluid document that is constantly being updated and revised to meet the changing needs of your business and the changing demands of the industry.

Be Aware
When it comes to keeping your business plan current, pay attention to what is going on around you. Your business plan was probably in place before the business actually got started, so it was just an idealized scenario about how the business is supposed to run. Once the company has been up-and-running for a little while, go back and update your business plan with some hard data. It is best to do this after every business quarter, so you have a current idea of where the company is and where you would like it to go.

Markets tend to move in trends, so pay attention to what other companies in your industry are doing. If they start selling a new product, watch to see how that item is selling. If they are making changes to their marketing plan, try to work out why they made those changes and if they are paying off. Using your competitors as an economic indicator is a good way to keep yourself competitive.

You definitely do not want to be left behind when a new trend hits, but there is no substitute for being the trend setter. Watch the economic trends in your industry and try to predict where the market is heading. Be wary about jumping the gun, though, since consumer tastes can change almost overnight. You may not want to react prematurely to market trends, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Make Changes
Your business idea may seem like the best idea in the world, but try to take a step back and be objective about your prospects for the future. Some of the greatest ideas in the world have been overlooked due to insufficient marketing. Nikola Tesla invented the alternating current around the same time Thomas Edison was pitching his direct current. Although alternating current turned out to be a more practical invention, Tesla died poor because Edison was more business savvy.

When writing your business plan, focus on who is going to be buying your product. Try not to overestimate your potential sales. If you plan for the worst, then nothing can surprise you. Detail out everything in the plan to address your target market. The better you can meet the needs of the consumer, the more successful you are going be. Once the business is up-and-running, ask your customers for feedback about how you can better serve them.

A functioning company allows you to revise your business plan with real world experience to guide the changes. If you realize that there are some core issues with your business plan, deal with them in an outright fashion. You won’t gain anything by sticking bull-bullheadedly to your business plan when it is clearly not working in the way in which it was intended.

Make the Most of Tough Times
A tough economy may not be the worst thing because it allows you certain opportunities that may not have been available to you. In a down economy, people tend to shop around for better deals. If you can present your company as a viable alternative, then you can actually increase your market share. A business that can adjust to compensate for hard times is seen as a good investment. The start of adaptability is revising your business plan to map out your plan for success. If you can survive through tough times, then you are likely to succeed once business turns upwards.