Running your own business is a highly rewarding, but often a risky endeavor. As with anything else, increasing your chances of success begins with preparation. And when it comes to transforming your dream into reality, the key to successfully jump starting your business is simple: plan the work and work the plan.
Whether you’re just getting a new business off the ground, expanding the business you have, or purchasing a business, devote plenty of time to planning:
The next logical step is to develop a plan—a strategic business plan that functions as a living document to define your objectives, guide your business, and take you from Point A(where you are today) to Point Z (where you’d like to be). But remember—a strategic plan is about more than securing funding—it’s essential to jump starting your business. And once you’ve written your business plan, follow it up with an action plan that spells out your short and long-term objectives and how you’ll achieve them.
Just remember this—there is no underestimating the power of planning. As the former CEO of Octel and Lucent Technologies notes, “People usually plan their vacations more carefully than they plan their careers. I’m a compulsive planner, but there were times when I had no idea what I was doing.”
Even when you have no idea what you’re doing, developing, and implementing a plan improves your chances of achieving your goals. This article outlines the fundamental components of crafting a strategic plan to take your business to the next level.
What is a strategic plan?
Strategic planning is the process by which the key stakeholders (you and your partners) in an organization envision its future and develop the procedures and operations that will enable you to achieve that vision.
A strategic business plan serves two purposes. First it’s an internal document that defines your goals, strategies, and tactics. Second, it’s a tool for raising capital. However, you need a plan, whether you’re looking for capital or not. Without a plan you won’t know where you’re going and you have no way to benchmark or track your progress.
With a strategic plan you have a road map that enables you to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.
A well-articulated strategic business plan clearly outlines your vision, goals, priorities, strategies, products, services, and financing needs. It also provides relevant information about your company, your management team, and short- and long-term objectives. Highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of your business opportunity, your strategic plan should look ahead from three to five years.
How do I write a business plan?
As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Likewise, there’s more than one way to write a business plan. Formats, outlines, and lengths vary. But they all tend to share a generally accepted format and certain standard components.
Your plan must be clearly written, logically organized, and convincingly worded. It should target a specific audience. It should outline the details of financing, competition, strengths, weaknesses, and forecasted financial performance.
As a rule of thumb, when writing your plan, include the following components:
No time like the present to start to plan your work and work your plan. Happy planning…
My mission is to help pre-start up, start up, and early growth entrepreneurs exceed their dreams through my writing, consulting, coaching, training, and mentoring… Think of me as your “Go-To-Business-Development-Expert! Contact me at Terry@BusinessGuru-TerryHHill.com