Sunday, March 11, 2007

What's in a business plan

I had the pleasure of running a 50 hour Developing a Business Plan course over the last few weeks which led to the development of 15 new business plans by participants. The course has launched some really innovative plans - from golf courses, to restaraunts, to a financial service firm, to a tailored concierge services, to a Muskoka based resort.

This post is the first of many I will be posting on the ins and outs of business planning for small business.

The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans
Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved.

If you are a small business owner, what's the status of your business plan? Is it still collecting dust on the shelves, or do you consistently refer back to it?

Business plans are not only a useful tool for leveraging needed capital, but they can be an invaluable tool for business owners. A business plan should be a living, breathing document, which is regularly updated and referred to.

One of the most common questions I often receive when coaching business owners is, what should a business plan include?

Typically, a business plan should include the following sections:
* Table of Contents
* Executive Summary
* Business and Management Overview
* Marketing (which includes the 4 Ps - Price, Product/Service, Promotion, and Place (Distribution), industry analysis, and market review/research)
* Location Information for the Business
* Personnel Requirements
* Legal Requirements
* Financial Requirements

As each industry and business is different, the skeleton of the plan will look slightly different.

If you are in the process of developing your own plan, or revising one, which sections are most challenging for you to work on? I'd love to get your comments and will create new posts based on your questions.

In future posts, I will delve deeper into some of the areas of the business plan which can be of interest to any entrepreneur or small business owner. Stay tuned for future editions - including marketing, product/service offering, market research, industry analysis.

For all business owners out there, here's a challenge: What one thing can you do this week to revive your business plan or move your business plan forward?

Looking forward to connecting again soon on this issue,

Jennifer Britton, CHRP, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

No comments: