By Barbara R at August 14 2019 14:32:10
What are the critical steps needed to achieve a successful business plan? This may come as a surprise to my fellow business consultants, but producing a successful business plan is not as difficult as people often think, so long as they follow a logical sequence. Here is my considered view as to the critical steps. 1. Understand what you are planning and why; 2. Define the activities of your organisation; 3. Outline the current position of the business; 4. Review and discuss the external market conditions, undertake and understand a competitive analysis, and define your market positioning; 5. Define your core objectives; 6. Prepare and articulate the strategy to attain and meet the objectives; 7. Identify and review risks and opportunities; 8. Prepare a strategy to deal with risks and exploit opportunities; 9. Refine the strategies into operational plans; 10. Prepare financial forecasts including revenues, costs, cash_flow, capital expenditure and assumptions adopted; 11. Finalise the plan; 12. Get it approved; 13. Use it; 14. Review it regularly and update as appropriate.
Here is a recap of where we are in this discussion: Business plans formalize an understanding of the task with appropriate analysis leading to a plan_of_action. Not all business plans are for profit motives. Business plans are for an enterprise effort and not focused on disciplines/departments, e.g. Marketing plan, sales plan, HR plan, supply chain plan, etc. Business plans are a great vehicle to build a team effort. Plans can be utilized for formalizing metrics relative to achieving goals and performance measurements. Some complex plans might include a Project Management professional. There are internal and external audiences for business plans. Most external focused plans are for outside funding of projects. Be mindful of the 'tone' the plan projects to the reader. Tone refers to the impression a person gets from reading the plan; a subliminal feeling about the plan.