Besides being an executive at Boeing, GE Aviation, and BAE Systems responsible for strategy, business development, and new product development, I was an MBA professor and started three successful companies during my career: Avionics Engineering Services Inc., which provides custom aircraft electronic installations in business jets, ProLink Inc., which manufactures and installs GPS golf course management systems, and my current company, Growth Strategies International LLC, a management consulting company to help entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses.
In my last blog, I spoke about the business plan that I developed for ProLink to raise one million dollars of venture capital. I have helped many other companies develop their business plans as well. Having a business plan is essential to a start-up, as well as an established business. The time you invest in your business plan will pay off many times over. Some of the benefits you can get from creating a business plan are as follows:
- A road map of your business to keep you focused and on track.
- Provides a clear and compelling strategic vision along with goals and objectives.
- Targets and time tables to track your performance against goals and make any needed corrections
- A description of your products and services
- An forecast of your sales, costs and profits
- A description of your target customers and their buying behaviors
- An objective analysis of your market
- An explanation and justification for your marketing strategies
- A list of your main competitors and how you expect to beat them
- An explanation of your business model or how you plan to make a profit and stay in business
- Anticipation of potential challenges or hurdles you might face and what you will/can do about them
A business plan can take many forms and generally the more complex the business the more detail and explanation that is required for a complete plan. But whether you are starting a home business or a complicated high tech, manufacturing concern your plan will include these three key elements:
1. Business Concept/Idea
b. Key Success Factors
2. Marketing Plan
a. Target Customer Groups
b. Products/Services Prices/Margins
c. The Value Proposition
d. Advertising Techniques Employed
3. Financial Plan
a. Projected Income Statement
b. Startup Costs
c. Financing Needs
Many business plan templates, such as BizPlanPro, require the entrepreneur to document a 20 to 30 page report. A successful business plan does not depend on the number of pages it has, the color images or the number of charts and graphs. For many businesses, a one-page business plan may be all that is required for internal use as long as it addresses these issues:
- Customer Problem and Your Solution
- Business Model-how you make money
- Target Market and Competitive Advantage
- Management Team
- Financial Summary and Funding
More complex business plans will be needed to raise debt or equity capital. Your business plan should be a document that you periodically review and update as your business grows to explain your business to suppliers, investors, and lenders as well as your employees. Your employees will be more productive and creative if you tell them not only what they are to do, but why they are doing it. In my next blog, I will speak about sources of funding.
Growth Strategies International LLC provides technology investment strategies, business development, and project management services for the development and manufacture of new products to achieve profitable and sustainable growth in the international marketplace. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-727-4727 for a free consultation. I want to help you succeed!