Planning Steps, aka, Business Plan

 

startupsvar_bobbel
Planning It  – Loving It – Reading it again – Hating it – Improving it – Loving it even more!

So imagine you actually came to terms with yourself and now are willing to accept the challenge. Great! The first question you ask yourself is: What do I do first?

As we know that opening up entirely new business, regardless of sphere or nature will involve tailoring a lot of pieces together, just like building a jigsaw – you have to ensure that all pieces clip together and create a recognisable pattern. I compare it to jigsaw rather than mechanical structure because you are at the early stage of “planning things and writing them down” to see the bigger picture, the entire lot.

Be sure that you have got a form of a recorded memo, be it digital (through OneNote or other forms of note-taking) or physical (a notepad, a workbook, etc). Either worked fine with me but I tend to stand by digital form as when I have too many pieces of paper around me – I end up losing some and spit in rage on myself. When I have it all on multiple shared drives – I feel like I have the necessary information to hand, anytime, anywhere.

Once you will have an original idea and start looking for “jigsaw pieces” – your cycle might turn chaotic. So your aim is to be scrupulous about your steps. “Learn to walk before you will start running”. If you rush it too much – you might end up messing things up, it might not only waste your physical resources but also ruin your reputation. The good recent example of a “Grocemania” bid on crowdfunding website where the issue of copyright was raised where the information and the script of the advertising video were copied word-to-word from another identical service provider bidding for funding on the same website. From the media comments of the founder, it became clear that they were rushing to launch their project and did not audit their rhetoric prior to publication which led to copyright concerns and re-drafting of entire bid on a different site.

So these things happen, make sure you spend sufficient time on planning, writing everything down and breaking your records into a section which you can re-visit to add/change or delete appropriately as you are doing your research.

This, my friend, is called the Business Plan.

It is a document describing in details the nature of your business, it’s aims, purpose, and aspirations, it’s operational, legal and administrative structure and it’s “feasibility on delivery” studies. What your business is, what nature of your trade/service area is, who your customers/clients are, who are your employees are (if any), supplier, third parties, your financial situation, trade plan, how you are going to fund yourself and what is your growth/development projections, etc…

You really do need this document. Without it, you won’t be able not only to understand exactly what you want to create but also what and who you will need for it. It is a blueprint, essentially… You can’t really build a house without a construction plan, can you? Well same here. DON’T BE AN AMATEUR! on are serious people!

I have done my extensive research on the Business Plan structure. And used the books of know authors like,

Mr Brian Finch “How to Write a Business Plan” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/711290.How_to_Write_a_Business_Plan) and

Mr John Timpson “Ask John” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23129720-ask-john?from_search=true) and many other publications produced by

departments of the UK HMRC (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/services-information) and

the Government Research departments (www.gov.uk),

as well as Business Departments of Universities and other academic bodies. From my experience – the more information you have before deciding on something of your own – the better. Especially if the info is gathered through varying alternative sources.

When you are drafting your business plan for YOURSELF – ensure it covers ALL details necessary for your development, if you are drafting it for potential INVESTORS or STAKEHOLDERS – make sure it is

  • CONCISE
  • NARROW
  • FLEXY

Coming across million and one Business Plan “templates” I have merged this million into 1 for myself which I think is the best for my business. I have genuinely used it as a backbone to plan and describe my existing business. BUT please do feel free to choose from the one that suits you BEST or CONTACT ME if you need help with your existing draft.

The template which I have used is basic but as I went through it, filling it out it has provided to me a sufficient guidance on understanding my purpose, operational side of the business and immediate needs:

  • Business Overview
  • Executive Summary
    • The Product
    • Vision Statement
    • Mission Statement
    • Business Structure
  • Roles & Responsibilities
    • CEO/Director
    • Trustees
    • Sales & Marketing
    • IT
    • Financial administration
    • HR
    • Front-line personnel
    • Cleaner
  • Start-up Summary
    • Assets
    • Investment
    • Expenses
    • Borrowing
  • SWOT Analysis
    • Strength
    • Weaknesses
    • Opportunities
    • Threat
  • Running Costs
    • Staff
    • Administration
    • Service Delivery
    • Funding
    • Advertising
  • Market Analysis
    • Market Trends
    • Target Market
    • Competitive Advantage
    • Industry Analysis
  • Sales & Marketing Strategies
    • Sources of income
    • Sales Forecast
    • Pricing Strategy
    • Special Offers / Promotions
    • Loyalty Scheme
    • Advertising Sources
      • Prints
      • Third Party / Partners
      • Social Media
      • Word of Mouth
      • Events

You will be able to use this as a skeleton and add more meat on the bone as you go. It will metamorphose into the one that suits your needs most – but it at least gives you an idea of what are the key things you have to think of

Your business plan should cover answers to the following special questions:

  • How are you different from your competitors? (both in the delivery of service and achievement of outcomes)
  • What is your benefit to the community/sector?
  • What are your development plans short-medium term (first year+)?
  • What are your investment strategies long-term (second year, onwards)?
  • Why do you think it is going to work?

Spend time thoroughly planning your business out – it will help you greatly when the time will come to sell your vision to the Investors and Stakeholders.

Get in touch if you need more help!

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