The Queen’s speech has outlined the new Government’s plans for the next parliamentary session, in a time-honoured tradition.

While businesses need not – and should not – be quite so public about their plans, it’s just as important that they do have a plan in place. Like the Government, a business needs to have goals to work towards and milestones against which to measure performance, otherwise, where is the structure required to achieve success?

And yet, estimates put the number of SMEs in the UK that do not have a business plan at anywhere between 29 – 34 percent. What’s more, at least half of those haven’t put one together because they don’t see the need!

Whether you’re a new start up looking for finance or a long-established business with a mature customer-base, there is always a need to have a business plan in place.

The reality for many SMEs, however, is that running a company day-to-day often takes precedence over planning ahead. But, like tidying your desk or organising your diary, investing time in developing a business plan can give you a clearer focus on how to achieve more every day.

And if the time comes when you need to seek finance, either to fund business growth or to secure your company’s future, a business plan will help you demonstrate your strengths more quickly and effectively. Any lender will want to see that the capital they are providing is part of a viable strategy, regardless of your assets and your balance sheet, and a business plan demonstrates that you have clear goals and are working towards achieving them.

The good news is that business planning involves neither dark art nor rocket science. Indeed, it often simply requires a business owner/operator to put down on paper the information that’s already in their head.

Frequently, however, the very act of doing that can help you recognise new opportunities, identify areas where a little investment and a more structured approach could generate growth or help you steal a march on the competition.

So, if you’re one of that third of SMEs that still doesn’t have a business plan in place, isn’t it about time you started planning for the future rather than simply working towards it?