76 CHAPTER 4 KNOW YOURSELF
You need to demonstrate that you have adequate financial controls and procedures in
place, and that other administrative support is available, including information technol-
ogy, legal affairs, human resources, maintenance, etc. Write a short paragraph describing
your internal support structure and those services that you outsource to professional
advisers. If you are starting a new business, do not underestimate the burden of process-
ing orders, making payments and collecting amounts due to you.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT, TRAINING, ETC.
Make a note of factors that affect the effectiveness of the whole team – such as career
development and training programmes, unions, works councils, restrictive practices, skill
shortages. Address these in the main planning exercise before writing your plan.
You’ve looked at your people. Now it’s time to describe your infrastructure – premises,
plant, machinery, computers and other assets. For Internet businesses, the basic infra-
structure may be less tangible, but it is no less important to describe it carefully. Moreover,
remember that a major factor in some dotcom crashes in 2000–01 was that they lacked a
bricks-and-mortar infrastructure that could be used to deliver product to customers.
You might want to draw up the fixed asset table described in Chapter 9 before continu-
ing here. Note that the written-down book value of assets that you show on the balance
sheet may be very different from the market value and this may differ again from the
You should indicate any major plusses or minuses. Include a table showing the
addresses of any key premises – a key sales outlet in a high street or shopping mall, a
prestigious research and development facility, a major factory. Write a paragraph or two
describing any advantages that your premises give and any burden such as an unexpired
lease on premises that you do not need. You may want to describe production facilities,
indicating where plant and equipment is state-of-the-art, outmoded, underutilised or
overburdened. Look also at your information systems. Efficient hardware and software are
increasingly critical for efficient and competitive businesses.