I have written three business plans for my own businesses. Two were for existing businesses and one for a Start up business (BOOST Business Coaching). The two plans written for existing businesses were written entirely on the prompting of Bank Managers as I was borrowing resources to invest in these enterprises. As a consequence once I had achieved this aim, the plans went into hiding and were never relevant again. In these cases the business plans were great for funding but had little else use.
The Business Plan
The latest business plan written by me was for entirely different reasons. I actually had to discover whether there was a market for my services. As a consequence of this I now have a ‘living document’ that is referred to and updated on a continual basis as my business grows and changes. The best part of this is when different tactics have been actioned and the results have been less than anticipated I have a plan B and a Plan C and can action these seamlessly into my business.
What to include in the business plan
Many people get stuck on what to include in the business plan, and to be fair every business is different along with every business structure so here is some food for thought when it comes to writing your business plan.( We do have templates for all sorts of scenarios – contact us)
1. Before you get in too deep, take a step back and outline a clear vision for YOURSELF, what the business looks like the day before you sell it. This will then se the framework for the rest of your plan by enabling you to start on the end result and work your way backwards. No-one said it was rocket science! Commonly known as an exit strategy.
2. Include Budgeting. You can’t run a business without cash. When you start your business the immediate concern is Cashflow however some consideration should be given to Cashflow, The income you draw from the business, the profit the business makes and your equity in the business. This is an important part of the business plan
3. Customer Focus. If you have customers ask them what they really want your business to deliver. If you are starting a new businesses go to your future competitors customers and ask them what they would really like to see. Then use this in your planning.
4. While we are talking about competitors – Research them, what do they do well, what are they not so good at, their strengths & weaknesses. Use this information and fill the Gap. If possible don’t compete head on with anyone on price – always differentiate.
5. Risk – A lot of people think that entrepreneurs are risk takers. They aren’t. They always analyse the risk before acting. Yes – an element of risk taking is necessary but the lesson here is to minimize as much as possible.Do this before you open the doors with the business plan
6. Once you have the draft of your business plan together contact an independent advisor or Business coach who can give you ‘independent’ feedback. A Family member or friend will also be useful however remember that they may not be as ‘independent’ and will provide feedback based on other factors
7. Expect the unexpected. No business plan is going to work exactly how you want it to, so make sure you have necessary measures in place to cover any problems you may encounter. Have a plan B and C for those tactics.
Don’t skip the business planning process Make sure you have a bigger chance of success.