By Erinn Stronkhorst at April 14 2019 02:48:08
I have been putting together business plans for over 25 years and it is clear to me that the strength of its core rests solely on being able to execute the plan. Each year I approach business planning as an opportunity, rather than a burden. I would rather invest the time up front in mapping out the upcoming year, than leaving it to chance to dictate my strategy. While this may force me to think strategically as well as tactically, preparing a detailed business plan in advance enables me to identify the challenges in advance of actually facing them.
I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
Second, decide what you want your salary to be. Third, determine how many years in the future you want to plan for. Fourth, you will need to know: 1. What % is your material cost of sales 2. What % is your labor cost of sales? 3. And what % is your variable expense of sales?
Impress for Success _ Now you have to admit, this is going to make an impressive package! Put it in a binder and you have built something to be proud of _ the first of your many business accomplishments. Your potential investors will appreciate the depth of your analysis, but this tool will prove helpful in describing your venture to your employees, customers, and suppliers, as well. After you have been up and running for a few months, you will find that the planning that you have done will sensitize your inner "business compass" and allow you to flexibly adjust to contingencies. And that is indispensable!