WHY IS A GOOD BUSINESS PLAN & STRATEGY ESSENTIAL?
Business planning, through the creation and refinement of a formal business plan, is essential for two key reasons: -
It is the owner’s/director’s formal guide to the long-term aims of the business and shorter-term delivery mechanisms. A good business plan should be constantly monitored against actual performance, changing strategic goals and market realities, and refined accordingly
It acts as a ‘signature’ for the business to a range of interested parties, demonstrating a structured commitment to delivering a set of goals and objectives, via formal strategic, financial and tactical planning
What defines Strategy?
In essence; Strategy is the long-term plan for a business (or brand) including a determination of key audiences and an understanding of what those audiences need to know about the overall business or brand and experience.
Its importance cannot not be underestimated as with-out a strategy there is no direction, and without direction most business’s crash!
WHO IS INTERESTED IN THE BUSINESS & STRATEGY PLAN?
Essentially, everybody who you would wish to have an interest in the business!
The Plan is very important to:-
• The owners and directors of the business
As a ‘reference document’, a call to action, a catalyst to constant revision and reassessment of the most appropriate strategic or tactical course of action. It also allows you to ask the key question against set objectives, “How am I doing?”
• The staff and prospective recruits
Demonstrates a clear vision, an expanding role for those committed to the business, and a way of delivering good long-term job prospects and career development for valued existing and future employees. Top notch prospective employees will be looking as closely at the business as you are at them.
• Advisors to the business
Helps professional advisors to the business understand the aims and ambitions of the business and identifies where help and advice is most needed and how best to deliver it
• Financing/lending companies: banks, venture-capital, private equity investors
Today, a sound and well presented business plan is a pre-requisite for all financing sources, allowing them to assess the investment value of your business proposition
Your business plan is essential in convincing often risk-averse investing and lending sources why they should risk their capital in your business. The business plan shows the essence of the business and the intended growth and payback mechanisms and timings.
• Joint-ventures, strategic alliances and other partnerships
Critical to modern business success, a business plan allows potential allies in your business to understand how, why and when they too may benefit by being a part of the business’s future success, and gives them confidence when revealing sensitive information about themselves or the market
• Key suppliers
Suppliers, who have often been around a long time, and are successful in their own right, need to know why they should supply your business, often initially on rather risky credit terms! They need to understand that you are very serious about building a business that is here for the long-haul, via long-term and mutually beneficial and profitable relationships
• Mergers, acquisitions and exit routes
Whether selling part or all of your company or acquiring another one, a business plan is the primary tool that will be scrutinized to establish credibility and performance: Have key goals been met? Were realistic goals set? Has growth and market penetration been well managed? What are the prospects for future growth and profitability? Is the management team stable and competent to deliver such growth?
- When it comes time for you to capitalise on your hard work and vision you need to be well placed to demonstrate that the business can continue to deliver solid performance, now and into the future
A CREATIVELY PRESENTED BUSINESS PLAN
Your business plan’s content is obviously critical to success. But of equal importance in gaining acceptance for your plan is how it is presented. Business plans cross the desks of key third parties hundred’s of times a year. What makes yours special? What makes you stand out?
Your business plan must convey, through its general design and content, a creative feel for the business, its products and services, its target audiences and its approach to business in general. The long term Strategy of the business is of course key, as that defines both the vision and intent from the start.
In most instances your company’s business plan will be the ‘face’ of your company on the desks of many collaborators in your business when you cannot be there in person. It must look the part, be well reasoned and creatively presented, setting the tone for how you wish you and your business to be perceived.
You want your business plan to have real impact. The more a business plan is creatively presented to mirror the aims and aspirations of the business, the more impact it will have. Ensure therefore that your plan contains not just lots of words and numbers but also a visual representation of what your business is all about.
When you do issue your business plan – be careful. A plan will often consist of a variety of trade secrets and proprietary information – ensure it is correctly protected.
Choose carefully who you want to read the plan and how much information they may need. The point is to be able to give a sense of your strategic direction and the process you are following without giving up inadequately protected strategic, financial or tactical information that could harm the business were it to be used inappropriately by others.
Gauge what you will show anyone in any given circumstance. For example, you may not want to show someone with whom you are developing a strategic alliance what your sales plan or new product development might be, especially if they are normally considered competitors or could work with your competitors. Or you may not want to divulge your core financials to a prospective recruit.
A good business plan is, above all, a selling and confidence-building tool. You need to let people know that you have considered not just the upside, but also the challenges your business faces, such as the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, difficulties in new-product sourcing, or acknowledging that you’re having trouble finding the top salesperson you want.
Those interested in participating in your business will welcome your honesty and your appreciation of the risks as well as rewards inherent in your business planning. It demonstrates above all that you aware of them, which is 90% of battle when dealing with such challenges.
YOUR BUSINESS PLAN WITH ‘THE NEXT IDEA’
The Next Idea specializes in business and strategic plans: both content and creative presentation.
We have written over 300 plans, and have seen over 50% of those plans then used to establish funding and appropriate business partnerships.
We do not use business plan templates: they are formulaic and impersonal. Instead we follow a collaborative process with the client, translating the client’s concept from an idea into a uniquely written and graphically presented business plan, allowing the reader to quickly understand the concept, through carefully selected images, well written content and clear financials.
We have written and developed the following:
• Restaurant business plans
• Hotel and Hospitality business plans
• Retail – Clothing Business plans
- Sports and leisure business plans
• Night Clubs & Entertainment
• Wellness & Spa business plans
• Healthcare business plans
• Marketing and Advertising business plans
• Child care business plans
• Franchise Operations business plans
• Legal practice business plans
• Architecture business plans
• A Range of business plans in other industry sectors
CONSULTING AT EACH STEP
Our clients can choose the extent to which they want The Next Idea to be involved. It can be anything from ‘crafting’ and setting their already formulated and written business model into a creative and stimulating business plan, all the way through to a full-service offer that may include:-
- development and writing of the general business model
- advising on approaching banks and investors for loan or equity participation
- structuring and modelling of the financial information
- creation of corporate identity logos, tag-lines, print and digital marketing materials
- analysis of the market place and competitive environment
- writing and designing in-house restaurant and hotel operations manuals, product manuals, HR manuals etc.
- researching and testing new product innovations
- investigating and planning franchise and joint-venture development opportunities