What is business planning?

Business planning lays the foundation of your business.  It will serve as a guide to how you wish the business to grow, what markets you wish to service, the feasibility of starting the business, and financial forecasts for the business.  Consequently, business planning is a crucial part of any business venture. Not only will it allow you to think objectively and critically about the chances of success of your business, but it will serve as a guide throughout the lifetime of the business to keep you on the right path.  It’s impossible to know you are lost if you have no idea where you should be.

The business planning process is usually focused on the production and maintenance of a written business plan.  A business plan can be very short or long and incredibly detailed. It can be a very wordy or be  It is your plan, but it needs to be detailed enough to facilitate good decision making.   It also needs to reflect the current reality of your business, hence our emphasis on continuous business planning.  Any given iteration of your business plan will be out of date shortly after it is written, more so in today’s fast moving markets than at any time previously.  This takes time, but with commitment and the right resources, your business can benefit fully from the plan-do-review process.

Why do I need business planning?

Business planning forces you to be more objective when contemplating whether to enter into your business. When you sit down and honestly consider the financial picture, market projections, and business objectives, you're more likely to make a rational decision.  Oftentimes, prospective business owners will get caught up in their "great idea" or dream of running their own business and fail to honestly account for all the factors that come into play.

Proper business planning is a necessary step to reduce the likelihood that you'll enter into a business venture that had less than a fighting chance to survive. Perhaps your great idea doesn't stand up to the scrutiny involved during the process of writing a business plan, or maybe after careful consideration, you decide that the numbers just don't make sense.  This is the kind of information that you want before you invest your time and money into a business, not afterward when it's too late. Whether or not you go forward with the business, the information gleaned from writing a business plan is invaluable to your future success.

Do I need a written business plan if I'm going to fund the business myself?

Yes.  Business owners often operate under the mistaken assumption that business plans are only necessary when seeking financing from banks or investors. But a business plan is a blueprint for your business and can be helpful even if you intended to provide all the capital for your business.

Writing a business plan helps businesses stay on track as they grow. You can use the business plan as a guide and as a goal. If you've done the proper research you will have calculated solid financial figures which the business can use as targets to measure its relative success. These targets will help keep the business on the path which you originally intended and discourage tangential ideas from pushing the business off course.

If you were building a home, you would obviously give serious thought to every step of construction, from creating the foundation to laying bricks and installing flooring. You would do this before you poured even a drop of cement, and you would refer to the blueprint during construction. You should consider your business in the same context and give the business plan as much time as necessary to ensure you have the proper blueprint, then continuously refine the business plan as the business grows.

How do I write a business plan?

There is no exact science to writing a business plan, though there are guidelines which most successful businesses follow. First, is to include a statement outlining the objectives and goals of the business. Second is to include financial information such as startup costs, revenue projections, profit and loss projections, breakeven points, and cash flow analysis. You don't have to be an accountant to use these figures but you should at least be familiar with the terms and have another person familiar with accounting double-check your numbers. Catching financial issues early is critical.

Next, you'll have to consider your audience. If you're writing for the purpose of getting capital for your business, you'll want a strong emphasis on financial information and a professional tone in writing. If the business plan is primarily for yourself, you can dispense with the professional writing style and a few elements of financial projections, although for best results, you should do as many financial projections as possible. Even if you're not aiming to get investors, financials will help you understand how your money will be used.

I've got a business plan.  Now what?

Get going!  The big difference between our service and the services of other business plan writers is that we are happy to help with the implementation of your business plan.  We've years of experience in small business ownership and are all qualified project managers (Prince2 Practitioners) and business process analysts (Lean Six Sigma Black Belts).  We know how to get things done.  If you need the services of our project managers to coordinate the implementation of the plan we are happy to help.  We can also help monitor and review your performance against the plan and make small adjustments to the plan if we see it might be leading us the long way round to where we want to go.

What is this Managed Outsourcing Service that you offer?

A common problem when it comes to the implementation of business plans is that the skillset within the business is not adequate to do all the things that need to be done to take the business forward.  Outside help is needed.  That is where we can help.  Through our network of hundreds of approved and vetted freelancers and contractors, covering everything you could possibly need to help your business grow and development, we will find someone who can do that job for you, either as a one-off task for the project or on an ongoing basis as part of your day to day business operation.

Another common problem we encounter is overloaded, burnt out small business owners that are trying to do everything in their business, no matter how trivial.  Often these jobs are non-critical to results you are working to achieve.  We help you delegate these jobs effectively so that you can pass them on permanently and use your time in a more productive manner.