Ask Us How: Business Planning
Published on October 16, 2013 under NSW Business Chamber Partnership
Smart CEO’s all over Australia spend April - June updating or preparing their business plans with the sole focus on how they can get their business to perform and compete in an ever changing and challenging environment.
I recommend a 3 year Business Plan to establish a mindset focus on your longer term aims for the business and its key needs. You can then piece together what needs to be delivered each year to achieve the 3 year aims.
The Business Plan will be a key motivational tool for you and your staff. It will facilitate raising business finance and will support the eventual sale of the business. Most importantly it must not go to waste and be used to breathe success of your vision.
PREPARING A 3 YEAR BUSINESS PLAN
The executive summary will set out the key goals and strategies for the next 3 years by summarizing each section of the plan.
The background provides a history on the business from its start and an understanding of the business mission and values. You will also document your industry and industry segment, your competitors, suppliers, customers and distributors.
Business Development Strategies
This will cover the key ideas and initiatives for business development including:
- Target clients or product sales or jobs completed
- New products
- Business acquisitions
- Business alignments or partnerships
The strategies here will determine the resourcing and system needs of the business.
It may be important to prepare a separate section on specific business divisions or initiatives.
This will cover the marketing needed to deliver business targets.
An updated review of your competition is also required. Research what they are doing better or different from you. If applicable, consider highlighting these differences in your marketing strategy.
Operational & Systems Plan
This will cover the systems and operations, including IT, needed to produce your goods or services in the most efficient manner. You will start to prioritise the immediate vs longer term needs.
Team – Resourcing & Training
Realistically determining the people needed at each point throughout the 3 year plan will determine the key people to bring on first or last and the key skills needed within the organization to be successful. This will also establish a professional framework for decision making.
Key Business Issues or Risks
You need to examine and document the Key Management Issues facing the business and ensure the amended plan addresses them. You may even consider getting customer feedback using a customer satisfaction survey.
The financial budget will now bring together all the strategies and plans for each area of the business into a financial plan. Clearly, if the numbers do not stack up, then you start to determine for example is the $50,000 on an magazine add more important than an extra staff member to support the business operations – if I need both then what sales do we need to achieve?
Finalise the plan by getting independent advice and input into your business plan - important to ensure the plan is realistic.
Implementation is now the easy part. Prepare an action plan and get buy in from your team by communicating the plan and linking the success of the business to the Team.