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The Definitive Business Plan, 3rd Edition by Sir Richard Stutely

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TEN STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PLAN 13
If you know the individuals concerned, this will help you to tailor your content.
Someone in an operational division will probably pay most attention to the expenditure
section to see how you are going to spend the money. A marketing-oriented reader will
turn to the revenue section to see where the income is coming from. An accountant will
tend to prefer the numbers, less numerate readers will read the story, and so on.
Ten steps to a successful business plan
Start developing your plan by answering an obvious question what and why are you
planning? When you define this concisely you are well on your way to developing a valid
plan. You then need to work through the planning process.
Do not be daunted by the following list (see also Figure 1.1), the tasks are each rela-
tively straightforward when you tackle them individually and in order.
1 Define your business activities.
2 Define the current status of the business.
3 Define the external market, your competition and your market positioning.
4 Define your objectives for the period of the plan.
5 Develop a strategy for achieving the objectives.
6 Identify the risks and opportunities.
7 Develop a strategy for limiting risks and exploiting opportunities.
8 Refine the strategies into working plans.
9 Project costs and revenues and develop a financial plan.
10 Document it concisely.
This is an iterative process. The identification of risks and opportunities might cause you
to go back and change your strategy for achieving your objectives. The plans themselves
or the bottom line – the cash flow, profit or loss – might highlight new risks.
Two more steps to making it work
There are two more steps that can be added to the previous ten points:
11 Get it approved.
12 Use it.
Most of this book focuses on steps 1–10. Chapters 12 and 13 look at steps 11 and 12.
Perhaps, in reality, these are the most important issues.
14 CHAPTER 1 WHAT‘S IT ALL ABOUT?
Figure 1.1 Ten steps to a successful plan
Start: what are you planning? Why?
1 Define your business activities
2 Define the current status of the business
3 Define external market conditions, your competition
and your market positioning
4 Define your core objectives
5 Develop a strategy for achieving the core objectives
6 Identify risks and opportunities
7 Develop a strategy for limiting risks
and exploiting opportunities
8 Refine the strategies into working plans
9 Project costs, revenues, cash flow
10 Finalise plans
TEN STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PLAN 15
GETTING IT ON PAPER
Having arrived at a plan, you then need to get it down on paper. This is not really a small
exercise, but it is easy if you approach it from the correct angle. I hardly like to say this,
but planning how to write the business plan is almost as important as how you planned
the business in the first place. In as few pages as possible, you have to crystallise years of
experience and possibly months of analysing, strategising and planning.
In doing so, you will probably find that you need to resolve conflicts between the plan
and its documentation. Strategies that look good on a white board might not work when
fully analysed and documented. In part, this is because the documenting and the plan-
ning are iterative. Indeed, part of the plan can be written at the outset of the planning
process. For example, if you kick off the planning process by documenting the history and
current status of the business, the market situation and your mission, then you will have a
solid starting point – and a few chapters of the final business plan already in hand.
TEN STEPS
Every plan will follow a general theme as shown below. You will notice a remarkable cor-
relation between this list and the list of activities in the actual planning process.
Ten steps to documenting your plan
1 Begin with certain inevitable preliminaries (contents, contacts, definitions).
2 Provide an executive summary.
3 Set the scene by describing the business.
4 Review the market, your competition and your market positioning.
5 Explain your vision, mission and objectives.
6 Describe your strategy.
7 Explain your plans for developing your products and/or services.
8 Set out your financial projections.
9 Highlight the risks and opportunities.
10 Reach a conclusion.

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