Now before we jump right in, let me say that there are many kinds of business plans. The tips and resources I’m going to give you here are for planning your whole business. This is perfect for SME’s or a business embedded in a larger corporation.
Five steps to drive a simpler more successful business plan
1. Be clear about the purpose behind your business
I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek. In the TED video “How great leaders inspire action” he reminds us that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Knowing the answer to the purpose of your business is a key source of competitive advantage and makes for a more compelling business plan. It will also help you enormously with Step 2.
2. Involve people
You might be the business leader, but I bet there are some other people who have views about the future direction of the company. From the outset be prepared to test your business plan ideas with employees, customers, suppliers and investors. Focus on ‘How’ you will work together to achieve the business’ purpose. Ask for feedback and be prepared to act on it if the message is consistent.
3. Understand the mechanics
Where does your revenue come from? What channels, key activities and resources must you invest in to make it happen? A fantastic free resource for this is “Business Model Generation” by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. Do this and Step 4. becomes easy.
4. Write your business plan passionately
Many businesses fail to do this, or produce a limp soulless version of what was intended. If you follow Steps 1 to 3, the Why and How of your business will shine through. A good resource for SMEs is the HSBC Bank business plan template and interactive tool. In larger corporations there is likely to be a preferred format for business plans.
5. Share the love
Now is the time to put the marketing part of your business plan into action. When you do this tell customers the whole story. Talk about not just the great products but the purpose behind your business, how your business works and the role of your amazing employees and partners. Remember, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Let me know what you think, and please share your own business planning triumphs and disasters.
Need more information on planning?
If you were looking for tips on strategy, marketing and project planning, or just want to know more about business planning implementation, let me know here or via the contact form on the Home page.