Business Plan - Plan-Do-Check-Act Keep the Plan Alive
Plan-Do-Check-Act: Keep the plan alive
First, thanks for sticking with your business planning journey. I hope you have found the information useful so far.
This is the final publication in this series and here we will discuss the business plan, how it is constructed, the additional information that needs to be attached and, how to keep the plan alive and therefore, a useful business tool for the future.
If you have been following these articles you will now have all the necessary elements to start to populate your business plan. These elements are: -
Clearly defined personal and business goals
A full list of your business skills and an action plan for improving or acquiring these skills
Customer groups clearly defined
A clear understanding of your competition, your strengths and weaknesses and an action plan in place to lever your strengths and minimise your weaknesses in the market place
A full understanding of your USP
A detailed, realistic sales plan
A driven marketing plan
A completed cash flow forecast
An understanding of your key business processes
The business plan
If you have not already done so, you can download a free Business Plan template by clicking on this button
One of the core methodologies the we use at Results is the application of the Deming Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Briefly, this is about spending time planning an activity to maximise the chances of success.
PLAN – what you have to do and include all the preparation, research and planning activities
DO – carry out the plan
CHECK – the outcome against the plan and identify any gaps or problems
ACT – take action to improve the outcomes, updating the plan as you go
I propose that the P-D-C-A cycle is applied to your business planning activity. In fact, if you have been following this series of articles, you have been in the planning stage of writing your business plan.
The contents of a business plan can vary. The Results Business Plan Template provides a robust framework that has been tried and tested and has been accepted by all the main high street banks.
The business plan content should include: -
Executive summary – about you and an overview of your business plan
Product/service description – a detailed description of the product or service that you intend to provide
Market research details – a summary of the marketing you have carried out for your product/service and the potential market population
Customer groups – clear definitions of your customer groups and the products/services to you intend to sell into those groups
Your competition – the competition you have identified and their relative strengths and weaknesses
Reasons for success – detail the reasons why your business will be successful, include your unique selling proposition as well
Risks to your business – for each risk identified, detail the risk and what you have, or will have, in place to protect against that risk
How will the business be managed – list the roles and responsibilities and include finance, sales, marketing and operations
Sales plan – a brief summary of your planned sales
Sales methods – how you intend to sell your product or service into your specified customer groups
Sales methods – a brief overview of each sales method and how each will impact upon sales volumes overall
How will the business be financed – describe how the business will be financed over time and includes set-up costs, working capital and future stock purchases
Cash flow forecast – estimates of cash in the business over the first year and why you believe this is a realistic forecast
Pricing policy – how are your prices arrived at, are they competitive and sustainable
Your business and the law – list the laws applicable to your business and nay actions taken to comply
Attachments – there should be a minimum of: cash flow forecast; sales plan; marketing plan and any additional details that you feel support and strengthen your business plan.
Having the plan in place is paramount at the start of any business venture. Once the business is trading and you have some experience of operating the business, the next thing is to check how things are going against that plan. As the old saying goes “a failure to plan is a plan to fail”.
How is your business doing against your plan? Are you doing better than planned or worse?
Review all the key measures for your business cash flow, sales and costs.
What actions need to be put in place to either redress the situation, or, take advantage and capitalise on a positive trend.
A Business Plan is a live document and should be reviewed to check that it remains relevant in all aspects. So make it a regular activity that you undertake at regular intervals.
If you have missed of the previous articles, please click on any or all of the following to access the article and a selection of free templates. For any other related articles including SWOT analysis and setting SMART objectives, please contact Results Consortium Ltd.
A business plan is key for business
Defining your personal and business goals
Understanding your in your business
Define your customer groups
Know your competition
Defining your USP
Establishing your sales plan
Establishing your marketing plan
Establishing your business costs
Definine your business processes
Results Consortium Ltd.