By Erinn Stronkhorst at April 21 2019 12:23:28
What are the critical steps needed to achieve a successful business plan? This may come as a surprise to my fellow business consultants, but producing a successful business plan is not as difficult as people often think, so long as they follow a logical sequence. Here is my considered view as to the critical steps. 1. Understand what you are planning and why; 2. Define the activities of your organisation; 3. Outline the current position of the business; 4. Review and discuss the external market conditions, undertake and understand a competitive analysis, and define your market positioning; 5. Define your core objectives; 6. Prepare and articulate the strategy to attain and meet the objectives; 7. Identify and review risks and opportunities; 8. Prepare a strategy to deal with risks and exploit opportunities; 9. Refine the strategies into operational plans; 10. Prepare financial forecasts including revenues, costs, cash_flow, capital expenditure and assumptions adopted; 11. Finalise the plan; 12. Get it approved; 13. Use it; 14. Review it regularly and update as appropriate.
Do you work on your business as much as you work in your business? Do you ever dream about having a good lifestyle but just haven't quite figured out what to do about it. Have you ever thought about seeing what your business would need to do to give you those dreams? Developing a growth business plan could be the answer. So, why should you make a growth business plan? Well in simple terms you need to know where you're going and how and when you're going to get there.
Here is a recap of where we are in this discussion: Business plans formalize an understanding of the task with appropriate analysis leading to a plan_of_action. Not all business plans are for profit motives. Business plans are for an enterprise effort and not focused on disciplines/departments, e.g. Marketing plan, sales plan, HR plan, supply chain plan, etc. Business plans are a great vehicle to build a team effort. Plans can be utilized for formalizing metrics relative to achieving goals and performance measurements. Some complex plans might include a Project Management professional. There are internal and external audiences for business plans. Most external focused plans are for outside funding of projects. Be mindful of the 'tone' the plan projects to the reader. Tone refers to the impression a person gets from reading the plan; a subliminal feeling about the plan.
If an online business, you need to go into detail how you will attract customers to your website. General statements like "I will use Face Book ads and email marketing" will contribute almost nothing to helping your cause unless you have detailed statistical analysis of tests you have conducted or of another similar business you have been associated with. If you do not have any data upon which you reference your estimates, it could show lack of proper thought to the remainder of your business plan.