What is a Business Plan and do I need one?

By Sharon Casagrande

August 26, 2020
Business Plan

When was the last time you looked at your business plan? Have you ever taken the time to write one down?  If you haven’t got a plan for your business, you’re not alone.  Often the day-to-day demands of running your business mean that there is little time for planning.  However, if you want to remain competitive, having a business plan gives you clarity about where your business is now and where you want to go.

 

There are a lot of great quotes about the importance of planning, but my favourite is the one from Arnold Schwarzenegger in his motivational speech that broke the internet

 

If you don’t have a goal of where you want to go, you drift around and never end up anywhere.”

 

You might have your plan in your head, but it is important to make sure that you write your plan down.  Goals are more likely to be achieved if they are in writing.

 

One of the key challenges facing many businesses is attracting and retaining talented staff.  Building a successful team becomes a lot easier when you hire team members with the skills and mindset that are in line with your vision and strategy.  In addition to this, your vision and mission should be communicated to your staff to inspire and energise your team.  Your team can’t commit to the vision and move in the right direction if they don’t know where they are going and why.

 

If you are unsure about what to include, here is a summary of the key components of a business plan:

 

  • Purpose 

 

Find the meaning in ‘why’ your organisation exists.  Why did you start your own business?  By clearly defining your purpose, you will attract other like-minded staff and clients who believe in what you are trying to achieve.

 

  • Vision statement

 

The vision is management’s aspirations for the future of the business.  Start with the endpoint in mind and describe your ideal business.  A clear vision can communicate these aspirations to stakeholders of the business such as clients, employees and suppliers and helps steer the company in the right direction.  It should be specific and distinctive to your business so that you can monitor whether you are on track to achieve it.

 

  • Mission statement

 

The mission statement describes the present business and its purpose, ie, “this is who we are, and this is what we do, and this is why we are here”.

 

  • Values

 

These are the values that management believes will guide the pursuit of the vision.  They are a reflection of your own values and belief system.  Values form the base of your culture and brand reputation.

 

  • Problems

 

What are the problems that you solve for your clients? What do your clients need that they cannot get elsewhere?  What are their pain points?  If you start to understand their problems, you can evolve your services to address these needs.

 

  • Your solution

 

List the solutions you offer and describe each one. How do you solve your client’s problems?  How do you make their lives better? What  makes your solution unique? How do you remedy their pain points and in a better way than your competitors?

 

  • Target Market

 

Think about the clients that you love to work with.  Who do you want to work with and why?  What do you love about working with them?  Identifying your ideal client will help you to communicate and connect with them more effectively.  Marketing becomes clearer when you identify your ideal client.

 

  • Competitors

 

Who are your competitors?  Some of them may not be obvious ones.  Think of any way that your potential client can solve their problem.  Do some research into your competitors, their positioning, their successes and failures, their market share.  What makes your business more attractive than your competitors? 

 

  • Branding & Marketing Activities

 

Your brand is the personality of your business and it must appeal to your target market.  

How will you attract attention to your business?  What sort of marketing will you do?  How will your clients find out about your services?  

 

  • Team and Key roles

 

Identify key members of your organisation and explain why their involvement is important to your success.  These are the team members who will help you achieve your goals.   List members of the management team, including yourself.   Describe each person’s role and skills and what they do for the business.  If you don’t already have one, you may want to create an organisation chart for your business.

 

  • Financial Plan

 

This involves creating financial goals and milestones.  Be as realistic as possible and set achievable goals.  Create a 12-month budget and cash flow forecast.  Once you have set your income goals, break this down into how many sales are needed to achieve this goal and monitor each month.  Have a look back over your last 12 months and see what you achieved.  If there is a gap, what strategies do you have in place to achieve your financial plan?

 

Set Aside Time in your Diary

 

When it comes to creating your own business plan, one of the biggest roadblocks is setting aside time to do it.  The best way is to set aside uninterrupted time in your diary each week.  When you do this regularly, you will start seeing results. Having an accountability partner like an outsourced CFO can help you do this.  An outside consultant can help you keep it real, set realistic goals and give you an outside perspective.

 

Monitor Progress

 

Once your business plan is done, you might think that you can tick that off the to-do-list.  But, the work is not over, this is where the fun starts.  You now need to work on the strategies that are going to help you achieve your goals and regularly monitor your progress.  Prepare monthly financial reports and compare to your budget to see how you are progressing. That way, you can take corrective action as soon as possible. Your business plan is a living document and should be reviewed regularly.  

 

Get in Touch 

 

If you would like to help to create your own business plan, please get in touch.  We can schedule a complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your business, the current opportunities and challenges and the next steps you should take now to take your business to the next level. 

We are 100% virtual.  However, if you would prefer an onsite visit, we are located in the beautiful Riverina region and service the areas of Albury, Wodonga, Griffith and Leeton.

 

Are you ready to plan, grow and thrive?

Improve your cashflow and business performance with a passionate financial and business expert by your side.

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