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.