Your business, your future, your prosperity
Business Plans are like maps for tourists.
Like sight-seeing (COVID-19 permitting these days), we plan where we’re going, what we’ll visit, where we’ll stay and, if we get side-tracked, how to navigate back to our original itinerary.
Planning a business is very similar in that you need to develop your strategy and determine where you’re at so that remedial action can be taken if required.
Given the uncertainties confronting businesses thanks to COVID-19 — border closures, lockdowns and restrictions to business operations — is your business as prepared as it could be with a Business Plan?
The benefits of planning for your leaders, team and stakeholders allows the opportunity to look at potential issues faced in the next 1-3 years, which gives rise to robust recovery and resilient business strategies being developed in response now.
Your Business Plan should incorporate commentary on the people involved in your business, together with a summary of strategies developed, tactics for the implementation and the allocation of responsibilities for monitoring performance.
A Business Plan is best prepared with input from all of your team. The key cohort is the leadership team, but it is beneficial to have contributions from all levels of personnel so they have ownership of the final document.
The Executive Summary is the overview of key data included within your Business Plan.
The Vision Statement enables the leadership team and directors to clearly articulate where they want the business to be in 3-5 years and normally includes a commitment to a regular ongoing review process covering:
- Strategies relating to financial performance, HR, marketing and operations
Business Plans normally contain a ‘SWOT’ Analysis of your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, which enables participants to comment on the factors that make your business great, but also note aspects that could be improved. It’s a tried and true component, because it allows stakeholders to have input so that any reservations can be flagged and analysed, with strategies implemented to rectify problems.
No business can operate without its team
That’s why it’s important that high priority is given to ensuring that adequate consideration has been given to the development of the team, and that training programs have been implemented to ensure that everyone maintains and grows their skills.
The leadership team’s direct responsibilities should be summarised, together with any specific professional development activities designated for individuals in the foreseeable future. This shows your commitment to ongoing training and development, which is crucial for identifying their future aspirations.
Customers are another important component of your business planning process. It would be expected to incorporate a critical review of the services provided to them, together with a commitment as to how your service could be improved in the future.
Marketing is an equally important component of business culture and your Business Plan should reflect this in respect of existing and potential customers across digital and conventional (traditional) channels. Also, conduct a detailed analysis of external factors that might affect your business including competitor performance and marketplace position.
It is a sound commercial strategy for every business to have a communication policy, a crucial component of the fabric of an organisation so everyone within it should have an awareness that everyone has the opportunity of receiving communications whether it’s via a daily huddle, pre-start meeting, toolbox meeting or leadership team meeting. The meeting cycle should include a monthly business review meeting to be attended by the leadership team members where every aspect of the business can be considered.
Be conscious of healthy supplier relationships. The planning process would normally include comments on key suppliers and identify strategies to be implemented if supply issues are encountered in the future.
Research and development is a direct contribution to the growth of the intellectual property (IP) owned by your business and therefore, within the business planning environment, consideration should be given to identifying potential research and development activities which could add value to the business’ overall IP.
Risk management covers any potential issues that should be given consideration with an appropriate written risk response document prepared so that it is readily available in the event of a problem, so that documented procedures can guide the team when making decisions in a crisis, not a knee-jerk reaction.
A sound Business Plan includes an acknowledgement that succession is an ongoing issue and relates to all personnel, not just the leadership team or Board of Directors. Progressive businesses have an ongoing brief to encourage team members to document their current work assignments and to be ready, at all times, to move to other assignments at the discretion of the business. This is effective succession planning being conducted at all levels of the business.
The team at Salisbury Accountants and Business Advisors have considerable experience in the development of Business Plans for a wide range of organisations. If you would like to have a discussion about the facilitation services that we can provide for the preparation of your Business Plan, please contact us in Albury on 02 6041 3014.