Archive for October, 2010
Preparing a strong business plan will require a significant commitment of time, that scarcest resource for the busy manager. However, out of that investment of time for your business will also flow learning opportunities and personal development benefits. Decide to see the time you spend as time invested in yourself. The important aspect of business planning is not always appreciated. Producing an excellent business plan may be your primary objective, but the potential benefits accrue not only to your business but also to you personally as author of the plan. In addition, when your business plan explains your business in a compelling way, it will also highlight your own abilities as it does so. That means that your chances of successfully communicating your enormously. People will buy in to the whole business package because it rings true; the business concept as set out in your plan will dovetail exactly with the person that they see in front of them.
The wise and the cynical know that there are no certain routes to success in business, no infallible get rich quick schemes, but there certainly exist tried and tested ways of developing and exploiting your business’s critical competitive edge. Television has brought to many people’s consciousness a world in which would be entrepreneurs seek to persuade experienced and hard-nosed business people to invest in fledgling business concepts. Few succeed. They are good spectator sport of course, but are also rather instructive. During many of the presentations, the pitches by the hopefuls, flaws emerge. Some are fatal, some not. The weakness may be within basic business concepts and or in the business skills of the individuals behind them. Yet those issues should have become visible when drawing up a business plan, and would have been addressable at the point. Everyone’s task would be much simpler if they had invested time in producing a thorough business plan.
Whether you are running an existing business that is aiming for growth and expansion, starting a brand new one, or acquiring an established business or a business franchise, preparing a business plan, stacks the odds of business success in your favor. By changing the odds, the act of devising a formal plan considerably improves your business’s chances of success and this blog will help you how to prepare one well. The fundamental principles of good business planning are equally valid for all businesses, from the smallest start-ups to the largest long-established companies, from one person companies to multiple-generation family businesses, for service businesses and for product- based businesses, from low to hi-tech. This books draws upon three decades’ experience of observing and advising hundreds of successful businesses. The ideas and the proven business planning techniques that it explains are designed for entrepreneurs, for experienced and newly promoted managers, and not least for business people with years of experience, whether or not they have previously received very much business training.
Providing a framework
In business, the perspective is generally one of partial insights and glimpsed opportunities, surrounded by factors that are uncertain, not easily controllable, and in some situations unknowable. The odds are stacked against success, in fact. There are always many more ways for things to go wrong than for them to go right. The role of all business plans is to provide structure in that situation, imposing order and a workable framework for rational and consistent decision-making by management. Every business has objectives and values, explicit or implicit. These will have been set as the result of careful consideration, or they may perhaps simply have evolved over time. All businesses most need to bid for scarce funding resources, whether from outside investors and bankers or from internal corporate budgeting and bidding processes. Every business has blind spots, and all face the unknown. Preparing a business plan puts you more in control, gives you more controls in fact, more ways of shaping events and seizing the opportunities that arise.
Few things are certain in business, which is why it is such an exciting place in which to operate. There is another site to that uncertainty however, the hard business reality of constant change, sometimes rapid, sometimes almost imperceptibly slow, but always present. Change is a constant of business life, and is faced by all enterprises from the smallest start-up to the largest and longest established company. Every successful business must embrace change to keep moving forward as it meets new customer needs, and evolves and changes itself in the process. Standing still is merely an illusion for the unwary, for really it means going backwards. If the past is a foreign country, then the future is another yet.
On entering new terrain a traveler can stumble around in the hope that something turns up before they perish, or progress safely by obtaining a map and choosing the safest path. In business terms, the best way to secure that map and select the route that leads to your desired destination is to put together a robust business plan. The route to success in business invariably presents many challenges, and without a business plan it will be a journey without a map. Once you have that map, however, your business’s present position can be established and you can then set out with confidence towards your chosen objectives. Your business plan will also let management measure progress and identity the resources that have to be secured at each stage.