|Strategic Planning Information|
Writing a Business Plan for Success in Business and for Funding
Writing a business plan to help you direct and manage your company is a key part of starting you new company that will help lead you and your company to success. Creating a "living and breathing" business plan makes that success even easier to reach. Many people feel that the sole purpose of a business plan is to get funding, and write a plan that is targeted to that audience. This plan should be considered a piece of you Fund quest documentation, but should not necessarily be edited to meet each funding source.
What is a living and breathing business plan? It is a short document that outlines your company, its product or products, and the development stages of that/those product(s), competition, market or industry, marketing strategies, sales strategies, including key clients you want to target, and your financial needs and goals. As your products advance in development, as the marketing strategies shift and change due to success or failures in marketing, as you acquire those clients you were targeting or you change your target clients, as you acquire funding or revenue streams, your plan gets updated to reflect the next steps.
Many people dread the "writing of the plan" process. It doesn't have to be that hard. You already have an idea that you have pretty firmly in your mind, or you wouldn't be creating a company.
Write a short paragraph that summarizes that idea. From there, write a paragraph or two on each product that you plan on building. Just describe the product, not how to create it. Next look at the market, write a couple (two or three) paragraphs on the market, including the market value, and the ups and downs in the market. Next you need to show yourself the value proposition in your company over the market and who the competition is. Now you are going to want to know how you are going to sell your product(s) and what that cost is going to be and how much you are going to sell it for, in two to three paragraphs. You should by now have an idea of how you are going to market your product, and write those ideas out in a couple of paragraphs, not too much detail yet. At this point you have a good idea of what your staffing needs are going to be in the near term, three to five years at the high end, next year or two at the near end, so write it out in a paragraph or two. To run a valid company, you need three people, a Business Manager, a Financial Manager, and a Product Manager. (These can be one person, two people, or three people, and I recommend that it be at least two people, Business/Product Manager in one, and a Financial Manager. You want the checks and balances of having two people monitoring the money.) Write up a paragraph on each of these key people, describing their qualities and abilities. If you are going to have Executive level people managing sales, marketing, etc, you would want to put in a paragraph on these people as well.
Guess what, you just wrote your Executive Summary of your total Business Plan!! In total, it probably came out to three or five pages of copy! You are almost done!! (Ok, you have some work ahead of you, but you have the outline in place for the rest of the work.) Again, these pages should only summarize where you are going with your company over the next three to five years. This is a document in and of itself that you will be using in your initial presentations, as a PART of your presentation, for going for outside funding.
Now, within this document, go to a new page and copy the WHOLE THING back into the document. From here you now start getting into more detail.
For each product you have, you need a page or two mapping, assuming a new company and new products, the development of the product, what the product is and how it works, etc. Go into more detail on the market, who the competition is, and how your company differs from these folks. In expanding on your sales review you will need to post your first three to five target clients you want to land. Give details such as who to contact, how they buy your type of product, etc. THIS SECTION NEEDS TO BE UPDATED, as does every section, AS YOUR CLIENTS ARE ACQUIRED OR DROPPED! Get into more detail on the kind of people you need to hire, especially in key positions, time lines, cost, etc.. Give full profiles of your Key Executives.
You now have 95% of your full business plan in place. The next thing to do is create your financial data sheets that outline your first two years expenses and income by month, the next two years by quarter, and the fifth year by year. Again, these are approximates. If your company has been around for any length of time, with expenses or revenue, you need to put in historical data, in front of "future" pages, as well to keep you up to date in your plan of how you are going historically as well as in the future.
You have now created a document that you can keep an eye on your company and direction from, and that you can present to funding sources as an outline of how you are going to spend their money once they hand the money over to you. But the key is to keep this document current. It isn't so big so keeping it up to date shouldn't be the hassle that many of the current tombs out there are, and it keeps you on track!! If you change tracks, change the plan!
If you write a business plan to guide and manage your company from, which changes as your company changes, you will be more apt to meet your goals.
Create and write a presentation, centered on your plan, as your Fund Search document. In that document, you can target your funding source, but your plan remains a valid, living and breathing business plan, that you can, and should, continue to use after you get funded.
Don is a Venture Capitalist with over 15 years of successfully funding early stage Ventures. Information on his fund can be found at http://www.tdbellenterprises.com/fund.html His company also consults start up companies on business plan development and start up strategies. http://www.tdbellenterprises.com
Mining Market Data
With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be generated by market research. The National Women's Business Center (NWBC) defines market research as "a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment with the goal being increased understanding. Through the market research process, you can take data?a variety of related or non-related facts?and create useful information to guide your business decisions.
Secrets Of Effective Brainstorming
Have you been in a "brainstorming" session where each person just defended their own ideas? Worse is when people don't suggest ideas at all, for fear they'll be attacked. That's no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using the power of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas. How do you make that happen?
Business Problem Solving
Is there really anything as a problem? Does chaos or challenge mean you have a problem? I am under the belief that such things as other call problems are indeed the life-blood of opportunity and the louder it knocks the greater the gain. Embrace chaos. In my many years in business I loved a good challenge; let me recommend a good audio book incase you find yourself embattled with what you believe to be insurmountable problems:
Attributes of Companies You Dont Want to Buy!
There are no "rules of thumb" in the pursuit of companies to buy. Each purchase opportunity has to stand on its own merits. There are, however, attributes of acquisition candidates that need to be defined for what they really are before additional, limited resources are put at risk in a potential deal. It is absolutely critical for any proactive business buyer to understand, consider and deal with specific business characteristics that add unnecessary financial risk to the investment opportunity at hand.
More Uses for Your Business Plan
You have invested a lot of time and energy on writing a business plan just to get a loan or to attract an investor. What do you do when you get the money or, worse, should you be turned down?
Restaurant Startup - Part 1: Market Research ? What are Potential Competitors Doing?
The first step in starting a restaurant is proper planning. One must lay out a plan complete with goals, priorities, and the tasks that he will need to complete in order to achieve these goals. The biggest mistake first time restaurant owners make is improper planning. Ambition, while absolutely required, is simply not enough to succeed in the highly competitive food service industry.
Microsoft Great Plains in Aerospace & Defense industries ? implementation & customization highlights
Microsoft Great Plains fits horizontal markets clientele and in case of Aerospace and Defense industry we'll talk about contractors ? parts and subsystems for government contracts. We do not necessarily talk about large corporation, however models described could be implemented for large publicly traded company. As a rule ? market is represented by established companies with long history, including long history of its ERP and Computer Business System. It is difficult to stake on the computer operating systems future, however you may try to give high level of trust to the ERP coming from Microsoft Business Solutions, especially considering the fact of acquisition of such market leaders as Great Plains Software and Navision Software.
Balanced Scorecard Strategy Map
With the help of balanced scorecard strategy map, it is very easy to design the organization goals and build business strategies. Balance scorecard and strategy map are interrelated with each other. Strategies map is the foundation to design business strategies or perspective. Using strategy map, you can design the strategies and using balanced scorecards you can build business models.
Pave the Way to a Successful Strategic Plan
Many very successful business owners may never have had a formal strategic plan. Some think, "Why do we need to do strategic planning? We're doing great just like we are."
Hunters and Gatherers - Are You Serving Both Their Needs?
The University of Exeter in the United Kingdom recently published research financed by Barclays Bank, which has implications for everyone who is serving the general population.
Do You Have A Customer Identity Crisis?
The trick is to determine what uniquely identifies your best customers. Fortunately, deriving this information is not difficult, and in many cases can be obtained from innocuous questions. Consider a manufacturer of baby goods and the fact that families with new babies often purchase multi-passenger vehicles. This manufacturer could build an effective mailing list by surveying recent car purchasers and noting which respondents had traded in sports cars for SUVs. Your information gathering technique of course will vary, but the identifying information always comprises the same three pieces -- demographic information, geographic location, and purchasing history. Demographic Information
ACTION PLANNING: Action Planning is a process to develop strategies for changes in the organization based on an analysis of the problems which precipitate the need for change. It is a collaborative method of planning which involves the people working in the organization and permits the people who will be influenced by the decisions and change to have influence on the product or outcome. Action Planning assumes that people will support that which they help to plan and create. Unless those involved are committed to that which they are changing, the plan does not have much hope for success. Recent studies indicate that employees who are a part of the planning and problem solving/decision making process will take on additional organizational responsibilities to implement the plans.
How to Snuff Out the Competition Without Leaving a Mark
Does the competition drive you crazy?
Menu Driven Business Planning
A menu is the foundation of any restaurant; Guests will support or avoid a restaurant for its food. Starting with a preliminary menu is a simple and basic approach to restaurant development. Begin with a menu, and you are light years ahead in the restaurant development process. A menu will tell you and your Guest what you are trying to be as a business, and greatly enhance your chances for success.
Why Six Sigma Will Work in Healthcare
If ever there were an industry where we want zero defects, it's healthcare. Patients, medical professionals, and healthcare administrators all want mistakes eliminated and quality and efficiency improved. Although most industries have undergone some type of data-supported, systematic, quality-improvement process, healthcare still has not. Medical and technological advances continue to outpace process and education adjustments. Demand and expectations for medical care are increasing. Inefficiency also leads to(causes, brings about, etc.) overcrowded emergency rooms, customer complaints, and lost revenues.
Leverage - A Small Step For You /A Big Change For Your Career
Cassy was an employee of a nonprofit who had been at her job 5 years. She came to me because she felt that the organization she was working for didn't value her and was upset because others had been promoted but she had not.
The Chasm of Change---- Restructuring ----- The Goliath
Richard L. Daft one of the country's recognized academic leadership experts raises the question, "What kind of people can lead an organization through major change?" A Turn-A-Round restructuring qualifies as major change and requires transformational leadership. Daft points out that this type of leader is characterized by the ability to bring about change through innovation and creativity. This type of leader motivates people to not only follow their lead but to believe in the vision of corporate transformation, the need for revitalization, to sign on for the new vision and to help institutionalize a new organizational process." Daft points to four principles in discussions about leading an organization through major change. These four principles are the foundation of the restructuring Turn-A-Round process.
Laying It Out On Paper
You might be thinking to yourself, "Why should I waste my time writing a business plan? I know what (web designers, freelance writers, professional organizers) do!" Knowing intellectually what your industry is all about and pinpointing exactly where you want your business to go are two entirely different propositions.
Fail to plan... or Plan to FAIL??
Running a business, whether it be an offline multi-billion dollar company or an online part time home business, they share many similar traits.
During the election we heard about Ohio?s Economy
Much of what we heard in the mass media about Ohio and the down and out economy was the fiction of spin-doctors of politics who wanted to oust the current sitting President. On further review and first hand observation and experience Cincinnati has people moving in and economic expansion. It is in a good spot with decent quality of life, plenty of jobs and an expanding set of suburbs. Just cross the river into KY and you get a glimpse of the reality.
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