Planning for Growth
As you look down the fairway your eye focuses on the red flag in the distance, you make a mental note to steer clear of the bunker on the right and the water hazard on the left then step up for a practice swing to improve your shot. Without visibility of the red flag, obstacles on the course or a little practice, success on that hole is very doubtful.
In business, a Business Plan is used to identify the goal, take you through a thought process to address and adapt to the obstacles you foresee and clarify the actions to be taken to improve your results. Business plans are sometimes thought of as only being necessary in the start-up phase of a business. They are however important for all stages of the lifecycle of an organisation - to help tackle the challenges in each stage; to refocus the business as it progresses; and to set out strategies to reach your ‘red flag’.
A business plan can take many forms, but generally should document how you conduct your business, should include details about the future direction for your business, and should outline the actions you will take to get there. The plan needs to be flexible enough to allow you and your business to adapt to a changing environment, while incorporating business growth.
Your business plan can be segregated into a number of key areas, starting with an executive summary to provide a synopsis of the overall plan. The executive summary needs to grab the attention of the reader, who may be a potential financier, investor, business partner, purchaser, or even employee. You can, and should, modify the content (and length) of your plan to emphasise different aspects, depending on who you are targeting at a given point in time.
The key components of a business plan, which inform the executive summary, include:
- details of your company, the problem it solves and the solution (product or service) it provides;
- information about the target market, the competition and the marketing activities;
- the financial data, including projected revenues and expenses;
- particulars about who makes up your team, including management, employees, key external partners;
- specifics about resources that your business needs; and
- your vision for the future, based on business goals, and how you will get there, including important milestones.
These sections will include more or less information, depending on the reason for the planning exercise. For example, there may be more details about human resources aspects, if the plan is being used to target employees for key positions. Alternatively, the plan may include comprehensive financial statements, as well as projections with in-built sensitivity analysis, if the business is looking for potential financiers or investors.
Your plan should be adaptable and should be reviewed at least annually. Internal and external stakeholders should be on board to help keep you accountable for what you have agreed to in your plan and your staff need to be engaged with the goals in the plan.
Although small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) business owners are aware of the need for planning and believe it helps to future-proof their businesses, business planning was highlighted as the number one business concern for SME owners in a recent SME Research Report. This is commonly because business owners lack the time and confidence to undertake business planning.
Combining the technical knowledge of the business owner and the business planning expertise of your Hanrick Curran advisor, you will be able to develop a business plan, have the confidence to implement it and the courage to be responsible for its delivery. For assistance in developing a plan to take your business to the next level please speak with your usual Hanrick Curran advisor or call 07 3218 3900 and speak with Angela Winton, Tony Hunt, Tim Taylor, Stephen Brake or Robert Pitt.
Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.