Everyday someone is creating a business plan, most of the time it is for someone else. In my last Hub I offered companies the opportunity to meet with a group of consultants that would help a small business create a solid business portfolio. However one of the things that was not mentioned was what do you do with all of the information once attained.
As you know most small business owners do not create their own business plans they normally hire someone, or they attempt to write a business plan, only to turn into a funding agent, and it is never seen again. For those of you that are unaware, a business plan is developed so you can follow it, i.e. a "plan". The ultimate definition of which is to be developed to be followed. I believe this is one of the major reasons that many small businesses fail. They create a plan but never follow it. Worst of all, the entire plan normally does not really include their input but is just purchased. They have absolutely no concept of what is in the plan.
A good plan has many ingredients, but two major points must be part of the plan; your realistic goals and objectives, and a truly workable and followed path... Without these it is not truly a plan, it is just some paper with and idea, and you the small business are just going forward rudder less. One must always have a factual direction and an understanding of how to accomplish the task at hand, on a daily basis.
It is not just about attaining funding, many businesses fail even with LOTS OF MONEY, they do not have a plan that can be followed, on a daily basis. So when you are either purchasing a business plan or creating your own; look at the plan as a tool for your ultimate success, follow the plan and have major input in a purchased plan. You should actually find a consultant that works with you to put the plan together so you have actual ownership with professional help.
Remember, your business plan is probably your most critical aspect of your business.
There are numerous programs that can be purchased that are very easy to use. One of the best programs avaialable is "Business Pro" There are some older ones vs. the 2009 program that are very good.
I use this program in my business as a consultant, it is fluid and gives you all the financials,examples of other plans and graphs.
I agree that realistic goals and objectives are the key any effective business plan. Otherwise you just have great ideas.
I firmly believe that before one even begins to formulate and write a business plan, you must have a clear and specific goal in mind. You must know where and why you want your business to be in 3-5 years or even more. You must have a solid and determined purpose before even thinking about what you want to populate your plan with. The business plan (which can be written by someone else) is the vehicle that you use to structure your thoughts and actions for the long term but the drive and motivation can only be fulfilled by YOU.
I totally agree that the vision and passion must come from the individual that wants to start a business or who has one up and running. However as we all know vision and passion are only a small portion of what is necessary to make a business successful.
A couple of years ago I taught a class in organizational Behavior to executives of a large fortune 500 company, they had just changed from a privately held corporation to public company on the New York sock exchange. When this happened the culture of the company changed and people began to view their positions differently.
How does this reflect on a small business? In a plan you need to determine the constant change in the environment of the company and how you as and organization will work within the change. You can either have environmental change or revolutionary change. First you can plan the progress or change based on your companies PLAN or as most companies move forward through crisis situations theydo not have and alternate plan in place; something as simple as unexpected growth can actually put a company in a negative cash flow situation and force the company out of business.
Forethought and planning even in the beginning are paramount for the success of a business. I believe if one cannot spend time with a consultant who is writing a plan for them, then where is the passion and how will this person really know their vision.
As a financial consultant I have always insisted that my clients take time out of their busy schedules to work with me, to create a functional plan for their businesses. We work together to understand the necessary adjustments to this plan going forward.
I just want to share these things that needed to be addressed when creating a business plan:
Put in the hours to make it perfect, because you’ll be repurposing the content in sales presentations, marketing collateral and white papers, recruiting pitches, and on your website
* People (Have you hired the right ones?)
* Product or service (Can you build and deliver it? Will it fly?)
* Market (Is it big enough? Can you reach it?)
* Financial (How much will it cost us?)
Remember, your plan needs to reduce your investors’ fear of risk and increase their greed for gain.
I love my business suits that's why I don't want to lost it. Every month I make sure that I always do an Inventory Clear Out for those products that is not necessary. This is one of my strategy and I found it very applicable.
Business plans are absolutely essential , I agree, it is like driving blind down the freeway, or going into a bank and asking for financing with statements written down on bubble gum wrappers... but they can hold up an entrepeneur at times as well. Especially those who insists on not making a move unless plan A, and contingency plans B, C, and D are in place. More often than not, an elaborate plan is devised initially and then the revision and review process is ignored due to time constraints. Or opportunities are misses because an entrepeneur feels unwilling to take a step without a well written plan.
Practical experience and networking factors into the planning process as well. And we all know the saying, "necessity is the mother of invention,"
It is an ongoing evolving process of reviews and revisions.A business plan is never complete! And as we all know what is down on paper, and the practical application of it can be two very different things as well... It is best to get a vision and scope of your product,price, promotion and distribution; and then plan on the go! Be prepared to look at it and review it on an ongoing basis. If someone else wrote it, the entrepeneur has to learn to be intimate with it. Know it inside out, and be prepared to author his/her revisions.
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