Growth November 11, 2009 Last updated November 11th, 2009 863 Reads share

Business Planning, Not a Business Plan!

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We have all written business plans and most are works of well-written fiction created to project the best possible scenario of your business, usually for investors.

To actually drive your business, what you need is a business development plan i.e. what are you going to do to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. A business development plan you say? Sounds like another 45 pager to me!

Not so. You should be able to write a business development plan in two pages or less, in fact the less the better as it gives you focus.

There are many approaches to creating a business development plan. The basics, however, can simply be put as:

Where are we right now?

Owners’ drivers and perspectives

  • Expansion or stability?
  • Lifestyle improvement?
  • Risk adverse/aware?

State of sales/revenue pipelines.

What and how are we delivering?

  • Costs – where are they coming from e.g. materials, labour etc.
  • Stock control
  • Route to market (direct, partners etc)
  • Value proposition
  • Pricing

Stage of the company (Startup, early revenues, mature..)

Inhibitors as you see them today (including you! – be honest with yourselves)

Where do we want to be?

Define your company vision simply. Make it measurable otherwise you’ll never get to the vision!

How you are going to get there?

  • Investment from Enterprise boards, business angels, VC’s, bank loans…
  • Have you the right team?
  • Your limitations to achieving your aims, if you can’t do something, delegate and get someone in who can.
  • Which markets are you going to penetrate?

If you are an early starter, how are you going to get credibility?

  • With banks?
  • With customers?
  • With suppliers if you need to look at extended credit etc?

Write the plan as succinctly as possible and get on with making it happen.

This is working for me and my company at the moment. It is giving direction and focus where it was missing and makes sure we are staying on track. It is not something you will do in five minutes, take a half-day to a day with all partners, or just yourself if you are a one man enterprise, and to it properly. The reward of doing so far outweighs the time lost in the business.

Would love to know how you get on and whether this helps you. Good luck!

Barney Austen

Barney Austen

Budding entrepeneur working on software product solutions for business. My background is mainly operational and senior management roles in mobile telecoms and software houses. Areas of expertise include professional services, out-sourcing, team management and general operations management. I've made the conscious decision to create my own company having spent the last 20 years learning in the corporate world. In my contributions to this forum, I will share some insights and learnings that I've picked up along the way and hopefully they will be useful to some or all!

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