By Charif Slag at April 28 2019 22:25:52
Make Sure You Have A Business Plan. The first point to keep in mind about business plans is... have a business plan! This may seem obvious but is overlooked. Many people start businesses without a plan; sometimes it can come from sheer bravado, thinking "I don't need a plan", or alternatively you might hear "It's all inside my head, that's my business plan". The reality is no matter how much you work with things in your head, no matter how confident you may be and how much you think you already have a great vision for your business, there are so many great reasons why you should get it down on paper.
I mentioned the financial aspect of a plan earlier, so let me add this. Another fact about financials to consider: not all business activities are about making money. Point being, in most enterprises financial considerations are centric to the document. But there are some other considerations. For example, a few years ago I wrote a plan for a new subsidiary that was focused on developing an inventory of patents. The potential financial returns were years into the future. Those patents may or may not ever have commercial value. Another example is a non_profit enterprise that has need for a complete roadmap for growing their profile in a market, of which a marketing plan would be the centerpiece.
What should be included in the business plan? Without being too prescriptive, there are certain necessary elements which need to be included. Such elements are: · Preliminaries _ such as contents, contacts and definitions; · An executive summary; · A description of the business; · A review of the market, the competition and market positioning; · The vision, mission and objectives; · The corporate strategy; · The plan for developing the products and services; · Financial projections; · An outline of the risks and opportunities; · A conclusion.
Risk Assessment _ What weaknesses are inherent in this venture? What vulnerabilities face this type of venture? What impact will these have? What new technologies may affect this venture over the next 1 to 3 years? What contingency plans are in place? What level of liability insurance is required? What does it cost? Who is the carrier? Possible Data Sources: trade associations; trade journals; Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE); industry salespeople; customers; focus groups.