Does Business Planning Terrify You?
Micro and Small Businesses can have great business plans too!
You don’t have to be terrified or overwhelmed any more because it can be easy if you use a structured approach.
I have been involved with many businesses over the past 20 to 30 years in assisting them to build better businesses.
The most successful were those who took the time to prepare a business plan and for a number of them these plans were relatively simple and unsophisticated.
The types of businesses I have worked with have been generally family oriented and would be described economically as micro to small businesses.
Business owners who have sought assistance in this area have done so because they realised the benefits of having a plan and also recognised the input from people outside the business who can see things that the business operator is to close to see.
The 1 in 20 rule
It seems to be generally accepted that about one in 20 people are goal setters and the same could be said of businesses in that 1 in 20 business owners and operators make plans.
In other words only 5% of the population take the effort to prepare plans to determine their course in life or the course of their business.
From various readings over the last 5 to 10 years I have come to the conclusion that of the 5% of people and businesses who plan their destiny around 95% of them achieve success.
Of the 95% who do not make any plans about 5% of them are lucky.
It seems logical that everyone should be eager to be in the 5% business planning and goal setting groups giving themselves a 95% chance of success.
Why then do so few have a business plan or set goals?
Business planning is perceived by most people as being tedious and difficult but it does not have to be that way.
Many people suffer an enormous sense of overwhelm when they look at the task ahead of them in planning their business. Again it does not have to be that way.
Business planning, as with goal setting, carried out in a structured way is a fairly simple process.
Yes I do agree that some of the aspects and research needed to make decisions and at times be a little challenging. When this is the case often the wrong question is being asked or there is no clear vision or understanding of the outcome to be achieved.
When I work with clients I have a 13 step program to enable them to build a really workable business plan.
It is in essence a two-stage process with the first being the strategic planning part and the second the business plan or action plan part.
The video below, on business planning, runs for 4.02 minutes.
The 13 Steps to Business Planning
1. Determine your personal goals and objectives.
2. Understand where your business is now.
3. Know your market.
4. Ensure your business operations are effective and efficient.
5. Ensure your business administration systems are effective and efficient.
6. Understand the finance needs of your business.
7. Understand and use up-to-date technology.
8. Innovation is a constant.
9. Human resources.
Business Planning or Action Plans
10. Develop action plans from your strategies and options.
11. Identify the critical success factors by segment of your business.
12. Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Key Performance Measures (KPM).
13. Implementation of the Action Plans.
Continuous improvement policies and programs are essential.
These ensure your business plans are always working as they should or highlight when adjustments are necessary.
Continuous improvement systems also minimise the risk of having improvements eroded.
The Business Plan Layout
The standard layout for a business plan is as follows –
- Marketing plan.
- Operating plan.
- Administration – management plan.
- Legal affairs.
- Human resources plan.
- Technology plan.
- Innovation and development.
- Finance plan.
- Action plan summary.
Just because it has always been done that way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.
A business plan must be something that excites, engages and creates tension between where you are now and where you want to be. It is motivational. So I suggest you put your plan together in a way that works best for you.
As an internal document I believe the core of the plan should be right at the front so that anyone in your business who reads it can get a good understanding of what the business is all about and what the end goal really is. I would therefore suggest that you have a one page plan right at the start and for each segment have a one page summary plan for that segment.
THE ONE PAGE BUSINESS PLAN
One page plan should enable users of your business plan to get right into the job at hand knowing what the business is working to achieve.
The layout is relatively simple.
Assuming you are using A4 paper, landscape profile, roughly divide the sheet into four quarters.
- In the top left quarter summarise the state of the business or segment as it is.
- In the top right quarter state where the business or segment is to be at a specified date in the future.
- In the bottom left quarter outline strategies and options available to achieve the goals.
- And the bottom right quarter specify the actions to be taken, start and completion dates and the person responsible.
If you’d like some assistance to get your business headed in the right direction why not contact a business strategist and start working together to build your business. Contact Chris
Enjoy your business planning and may you have tremendous success in your chosen venture.