Published on March 15, 2009
Gavin D. J. Harper www.gavindjharper.co.uk Presentation at: Institut Supérieur de Commerce International Dunkerque, France March 2009
Business plans are used for a number of purposes – Fund raising from: Banks Venture Capital Private Finance Internal clarification of business goals Businessplans are not a static document that you write at the beginning of starting a business – they are DYNAMIC. Change them as the business environment and your knowledge evolves.
In developing your business plan, you will be developing „entrepreneurial skills‟. Entrepreneurs come from a diverse range of backgrounds and integrate and synthesise a wide range of skills. As a prospective entrepreneur, you will have to get used to wearing “lots of hats”.
If your business “doesn‟t work on paper” and the figures don‟t add up – it has less chance of working in real life. No…. I regret nothing… I took the It‟s better to waste a time to do a business plan. week writing a business plan than wasting a year (and lots of cash) trying to start up a venture that is destined to fail.
A business plan defines what your businesses objectives are. “Mission Statement” “Values / Ethos Clarification” Are your objectives realistic? A business plan makes them “transparent” How are you going to get there? Roadmap for your business.
Any great idea needs firm foundations. By spending the time writing a business plan, you are building a firm foundation on which to develop your business. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” David Brinkley “Confidence is the foundation for all business relations. The degree of confidence a man has in others, and the degree of confidence others have in him, determines a man's standing in the commercial and industrial world.” William J. H. Boetcker
Business plans help get “Everyone on the same page” – they provide a central vision to which everyone in the business subscribes. The more people you have to co-ordinate, the more important this becomes.
No two businesses are the same. No two business plans are the same. It is ok for business plans to vary considerably depending on the type and style of business. Generic business plans are available for differetn “types” of business, which you can customise for your own ends. We are now going to look at a very „generic‟ type of business plan, which provides the basic elements of structure for your plan.
Outlines what you are looking to achieve. How are you going to do it with the resources available. Keep it short, keep it concise and make EVERY WORD COUNT. It is the written equivalent to your “Elevator Pitch”. If you can‟t explain what you are doing in a minute, then you will lose your readers attention.
Who do you anticipate selling your product or service to? What „sort of people‟ are they? Where do they live? How many of them are there? What range of ages are your customers? What is their spending power?
Know everything about your enemy. What are their: Prices Strengths Weaknesses How does your business differ from theirs? What are you going to do better than them? How will you steal their business?
Who are your suppliers and how will you rely on them? Anyspecial requirements for delivery that are specific to your business? E.g./ “Cold Chain” for Food-Service “Just In Time” for Automotive Parts
What is your sales channel? How are you going to reach your customers? Do you have the funds to market your product to your consumers? Innovative marketing models? Pyramid Selling e-Business Mail Order
How many people will you need to run your business? Who are your “key staff”? What specialist skills are required to produce and deliver your product or service? Are there enough of these skilled people in your area – if not where will you recruit them from? Is there a „premium‟ to be paid for their skills? What is the labour market like in your area? Do you need to provide training? Can you “outsource” where you can‟t find skills locally?
What are the processes you will be using in your business? Do these processes require specialist equipment? Capital Investment in Tooling Infrastructure
Forecasts for the next three – five years. Cash Flow Balance Sheet Profit and Loss Account Howwill the proceeds of your funds be spent? Reinvestment in the business? Dividends to shareholders? Remuneration for founders?
Whatsort of risks is your business likely to encounter? Turbulent marketplace? Operational Risks? Staffing Risks? Financing Risks? THINK GREEN: Rising energy prices? Resource scarcity?
What is your company‟s ethical position? Sustainability Social Economic Environmental How will your company be a „responsible‟ business citizen? Community engagement Being “A Good Neighbour”
Your business plan is an ambassador for your company. If your business was a country, you wouldn‟t dress your ambassador in a shabby, ill-fitting suit. Ensure that the plan is laid-out professionally. Print on good quality paper. Give thought to the cover and binding of your plan. With desktop-publishing and high quality printing cheaper than ever, there is no excuse for poor-quality presentation.
Business plan writing software (provides a template for you to fill in) Simple but… Generic & Inflexible Download a “template” for your type of business from the net Take a course in business planning (this one?) Hire a consultant Sounds easy…But YOU know your business better
Wecan learn a lot from the East about developing sustainable businesses – some businesses in Japan, have a 500 year business plan. Including big names you might be familiar with. Toyota Honda Sony
Ifyou haven‟t got a coherent and well presented business plan, what else haven‟t you done? Alarm bells for investors… What does it say about this person‟s business? Late tax returns? Poor organisation? Bad time management? UNABLE TO RUN A BUSINESS!
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