"It is better to look uniformed, than to be uninformed"
Simply put, Business plans are a reflection of the Who, What, When, Where, How and most importantly Why you operate a business.
Business Plans are imperative regardless of the size of the business. The content may vary in size, yet not in depth.
Think of a business plan as a clear, concise, relevant description which may always be referred to, measured against, benchmarked, amended and reflected upon to ensure all elements of the operation are aligned with the Vision, Mission, Purpose and desired Realisation of the business.
When we align in Life as we align in Business, we invite Success, we attract Opportunity, we relate to Clients and Staff, and we ‘pave the way’ for future Expansion and or Succession Plans.
Clear. Concise. Relevant, otherwise classified as 'Who. What. When. Where. How & Why'
What is involved in a Business Plan ?
Executive Summary: an overview to the operation; Who, What, Where, When, Why, How
Company Description: explanation of What
Market Analysis: explanation of How and Who; includes research on the industry, market and competitors
Organisation & Management: explanation of Who; includes business and management structure
Service or Product: explanation of What; includes detail on the products or services offered
Marketing & Sales: explanation of How; includes market sales strategy plans
Funding request: explanation of How & Why: explains Why finances are required & supports financial projection and planning
Financial Projections: explanation of Who, What, Where, When, Why finances are utilised and includes balance sheets
Appendix: provides an overview to operation resumés and permits
Four Aspects to Writing a Business Plan
Section One: Environment
1. Research“You must know yourself to Grow yourself” John C Maxwell
It is one thing to write down what you think is an acceptable business plan. It is another to know what is relevant to yourself. What is relevant to your industry. What transcribes ina clear, concise and relevant fashion.
The best solution to this is to ‘Model’ a business, a person or seek support and direction from a Coach or Mentor who shall ‘ease your pain’ and switch the light on for greater clarity and connection.
2. Understand Purpose“busyness does not equal productivity”
A business plan, is defined by Entrepreneur Co, as a “written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.”
For yourself, your plan serve multiple purposes.
I define this as understanding your ‘Environment’. When we lose our Purpose, we lose our Drive. When we become fixated on competition, we blame, we lose success, opportunity and relationships. Ultimately we focus on the external and forget the internal.
If you have already commenced operating, think back to when you first started:
Why did you start, what was the vision?What is most important to you when it comes to delivering for your clients? What personal standards do you live by in your business?What do you expect of your clients? Your team?
3. Identify the Business Profile“To succeed, act with integrity, include others, add value, believe, trust, enjoy”
Your business profile is much the same as a resumé profile. It outlines the history of the business, the experience of the owner and chief management, the products or services offered, the specialisation or target market, available resources, structures and systems and the business’ unique selling point (USP).
Advertising the business profile across all social mediums and linking these to the main website will assist in broadening the potential target market. Understanding your business profile, also enables an easier understanding and therefore creation, of your business plan.
4. Document your Business; have Systems in place
“If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it you can’t control it. If you can’t control it you can’t improve it. If you can’t improve it, you’re lost”
Management, employee’s, potential future purchasers, expansion and succession plan opportunities all need to feel comfortable when investing in your business.
Investors want to make sure that your business is going to make them money. Because of this expectation, investors want to know everything about your business. To help with this process, document everything from your expenses, cash flow and industry projections. Also, don’t forget seemingly minor details like your location strategy and licensing agreements.
Section Two: Structure
5. Create a Marketing Plan“Plan your work and work your Plan”
A great business plan is complemented by a strategic and aggressive marketing plan. This typically includes achieving standard marketing objectives such as:
Introducing new products, systems or servicesExploring, developing and confirming marketshareDeveloping new venturesIncreasing Supplier relations and sales Cross-selling and cross-promotional activitiesTargeting and confirming tenders and co-investmentsLeveraging sales margins and yieldsRefining product or service cross-sell opportunitiesIdentifying a measurable marketing strategy planCreating an incentive and accountability structure around product services
Each marketing objective should have several goals and tactics for achieving those goals. Objectives focus on ‘what, why, where, who, how, when across an entire year and pre-empt space, time, division and responsibility in order to achieve the aspired goals. This is classified as Structure.
The third section is ‘Implementation’, this focus involves initiating the aforementioned structures into practice. Marketing objectives also have costs. “Your marketing plan needs to have a section in which you allocate budgets for each activity planned," Entrepreneur says. It would be beneficial for you to create separate internal vs external budgets for a more measurable benchmark and modelling practice. Clarity is key.
Section Three: Implementation
6. Make it adaptable to your target market.“If you want to be terrific, you have to be specific”
Anything created from the Environment, benchmarked by Structure and Implemented to serve must be:
- received personally
- repeated easily
- transferred strategically
“Systems allow ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results predictably” - Michael Gerber
7. Identify ‘why’ it matters.
Irregardless who you are sharing a Marketing Plan with, it must demonstrate the essence of the business, the Environment or Purpose.
Remember this is entirely about ‘why’, it does not speak, rather shows in a clear, concise and relevant manner the who, where, when, what and how your business shall benefit your target market whether directly or indirectly.
Illustrating for example how past failures have resulted in new avenues illustrates accountability, introspection and growth; all enormously important when it comes to the Law of Relatability.
Relatable as you shall appreciate is essential when it comes to rapport, trust, commitment, momentum, growth and success.
“the difference between average people and successful people is their attitude (perception of and response) to failure” - J.C Maxwell