Bookkeeping Business FAQs: When is the best time to start a business plan?

Business plans are not just for new businesses, and it's never too late to start. In fact, depending on which stage you're at, your business plan will benefit you in different ways.

Start-up business planning

When you start a business, it can feel like there’s just so much to do. Maybe because there is! You’ve got to sort out…

  • Your business name, logo and website
  • How you’re going to promote yourself
  • What kind of clients you want to work with
  • Which software to use with clients
  • How to get paid on time
  • What to do when you get a difficult client

At this stage of your business, it's about getting set up and getting some money in the door to pay for all your set up costs!

Established business planning

But for many of us, even after years of running our business we can still feel overwhelmed by problems. The feelings are the same but the problems are different;

  • Finding the time to recruit
  • Finding good staff
  • Stepping back and letting go
  • Streamlining internal systems and processes
  • Refining client base
  • Adding consulting services to your revenue
  • Improving profitability

At this stage of your business, it's about working smarter, not harder. It's about discovering “true north” in your business; finding the right direction when you feel you may have drifted off course.

That’s why it’s essential you do things in the right order, or you risk wasting time, effort and money. That’s why it’s almost always best-practice to start with your business plan.

But in my experience, it doesn’t usually happen that way. Fortunately, you can still get plenty of benefits from starting your business plan at different stages of your business.

Which Of The 6 Stages Of Bookkeeping Business Are You At?

The following 6 profiles have been created by combining the experiences of bookkeepers we’ve worked with over the years, to show you there are common themes within each stage. 

Each different stage of business starts working on a business plan for different reasons, and as a result get different benefits. Hopefully, it will inspire you to work on your business plan – no matter what stage you’re at.

As you read, try to identify which stage you are at. Although you might not fit perfectly into one, there will be a stage you will identify with the most. Once you know the stage you're at, it will also help you understand the specific issue and struggles you may have, and how a business plan can solve those.

Start-Up Sam

Experience/situation: Sam is new to the bookkeeping business game.

Problem: “I’ve got my business name, logo, business cards, BAS registration, software, and scanner. But I have no clients and don’t know how to get them.”

How a business plan helped: A business plan helped Sam plan ahead so that he didn’t waste precious time and money marketing to clients who weren’t a good fit for his skill set, personality, or business goals.

Full-Up Fiona

Experience/situation: Fiona has been in the game for a while. She’s a great bookkeeper and just seems to attract new clients like a magnet.

Problem: “I’m overloaded with work, and desperately need to hire. But I’m too busy to go through the hiring process.”

How a business plan helped: A business plan helped Fiona work out some areas of her business that were consuming too much of her time, and help her to create a strategy for recruiting and freeing up her own time.

Move-Up Michelle

Experience/situation: Michelle is feeling dissatisfied. She’s been bookkeeping for a long time and has lost her mojo.

Problem: “I’ve been operating for a while, I’m earning well. But something is missing and I can’t put my finger on it. I’d love to most past whatever that is.”

How a business plan helped: The process of developing the business plan helped her unlock some areas where she was operating at less than her potential and refreshed her vision and passion for her work.

Wind-Up Wesley

Experience/situation: Wesley is in his late 50s and plans to keep working until after normal retirement age to keep his mind active and stay connected with the business community. But his health hasn’t been the greatest.

Problem: “I’m not ready to stop my business but in the future, I’d like to be able to sell it. Or if something happens to me, I’d like to have a plan that someone else can understand and follow.”

How a business plan helped: A business plan helped Wesley communicate the purpose and value of his business to someone else, in case he needed to quickly hand it over. It also helped him to value the business for when it comes time to sell.

Fed-Up Fran

Experience/situation: Fran is over it! Her clients are a pain in the butt, not paying her on time, and questioning her bills. She is scared to sack them because she feels worried about doing more marketing.

Problem: “I’ve been trying to work more ON my business instead of IN it, and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere! I’m making money, but where is it all? I’m over it! I wonder if I should just go back to being an employee.”

How a business plan helped: A business plan helped Fran carve out a niche so she can weed out clients who aren’t a good fit and only attract the right ones in the future. The planning process will also reconnect her with what is important.

So what's the next step? Would you love to free up your brain-cells, prepare for the future and spot gaps in your business? The best place to start is getting a reality check on where you're at. 

Discover your Profit IQ

Find out which steps you're missing in the setting up of your business by taking my Profit IQ test. Benchmark yourself against the average bookkeeper in our industry, discover your strengths and weaknesses of your business, and find the gaps.

To find out your score you need to answer 60 multiple choice questions, it will take you 5-10 minutes. As soon as you're done, you'll get a detailed report on the progress that you've made across the 6 most important areas of your business. Visit to discover your Profit IQ score, and give yourself a reality check to find out how well you're actually doing in your business.

Get A Copy Of Your Client-Centric Business Plan

If you want to start working on your business plan, get a copy of your Bookkeeping Business Plan here.

If you've gotten value from this Bookkeeping Business FAQs don't forget to like it, or share it with a colleague who may be struggling to get their business set up.

Thanks for joining me today. Can't wait to see you in the next instalment of Bookkeeping Business FAQs.

Until then, Stay Savvy.

Amy x

About Amy Hooke

Amy is a bookkeeping business mentor giving smart bookkeepers the tools to become business-minded bookkeepers and build professional, profitable, scalable businesses.

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