By Erinn Stronkhorst at April 17 2019 11:07:08
If you develop a good Profit & Loss Statement for your existing business for the current year or for the first year of your proposed business, you can use this data to actually project how much sales you would need to yield the income you want and the profit margin you want. You can plan ahead as far as you want. Sound impossible? It's actually pretty simple and can be pretty accurate plan.
So, why is business planning so crucial? In a word, it provides "clarity". Investing time to develop a plan provides precise clarification of the company vision to both employees and customers. In addition, it provides a mechanism to gauge the results of the business and provides the foundation for future growth plans. In the long haul, it enhances the company valuation through fiscal responsibility, which provides the story of opportunity to any future investor or employee. In short, the benefits of planning allow the company to articulate a common vision to align resources and make an efficient use of investment dollars. A company that is perceived to be a "well_oiled machine" is attractive on many fronts _ both externally with investors and internally with employees through job satisfaction and increased tenure.
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.
Developing Planning Modules: Compartmentalizing your plan by developing planning modules or "chunks" allows you to attack the plan in parts, yet still maintain a cohesive plan. I have found that developing an annual plan made up of quarterly targets _ thus becoming a rolling quarterly forecast financial model _ allows for a cohesive structure along with the nimbleness to react to market conditions. At the end of each quarter, a true_up process to align results to annual targets needs to be re_forecast and adjustments made.