Writing A Small Business Plan

By Jack Metcalfe


The effective and successful small business owner works to a well thought through small business plan. This plan outlines and documents the key business objectives, benchmarks and performance measures that must be met.A good small business plan is the result of having first conducted a thorough Strategy Formulation exercise. The ability to think strategically is one of the qualities of good leadership that all successful business owners and entrepreneurs should possess as part of their repertoire.
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Strategy Formulation is a fundamental process that identifies the critical areas to be addressed and sets the priorities for the business across an agreed strategy period.By focusing on the key areas that are identified as part of this process, the effective manager and business owner ensures laser-like focus in achieving results.The small business plan integrates and aligns all the business activities around these critical areas and ensures that all effort is targeted, contained and understood by everyone in the business.Having a plan is critical. It ensures that the right things get done, within the time frames allotted, and allows for the emergence of new initiatives when the plan is reviewed.

Another key benefit of a well written business plan is that it becomes a permanent reference point for you to view as needed and will assist you in maintaining your focus for the life of your business.

Project Where You Want to Be Across the Time Frame This is a second list that identifies where the business should be, in relation to the critical issue being addressed. Using the same example of sales and marketing as above, this list spells out what the "end picture" should look like in relation to these activities, across the business plan time frame.

Small business plan - an overview There are 6 key elements to consider when preparing to write your business plan they are,Your business aim: this section should indicate your businesses generic goals and should also identify what areas you will need to research (such as marketplace, route to market etc) and also pinpoint an accurate timetable for your small business development.Stock: this section should demonstrate your products and/or services that your are planning to specialise in, where you may source your products and any legislation you may need to be aware of and comply to.

Every business is going to be different so think about anything that you need to spend money on to get it running. The next step you must consider is how are you going to get this start up money. Are you going to go to a bank for a loan? Are you considering finding a partner that can cover the costs with the agreement you can buy out the company later down the road? Do you want to talk with a wealthy family member about your business? Anyway you choose to get the money doesn't matter.

Tasks should be made into "bite-sized" pieces. Once this is done and each task is completed, it will unerringly lead to the objective being achieved, and everyone can see how their particular task and its completion fit into the bigger strategic picture.Deadlines.All of the tasks assigned must have strict deadlines that are agreed and adhered to by all people involved. Keeping each other accountable is an important dimension in pushing for high performance in the effective and successful small business. Interrelated tasks must be identified, and critical paths for their completion established.

Accountabilities and Responsibilities.All the tasks must be assigned to people who take responsibility for getting them completed within the agreed time frames. The successful small business has developed a culture where the taking of personal responsibility for an assigned task is simply a given.

In my next article we shall begin attacking each aspect of the business plan in detail beginning with your business aims.I hope you find this resource useful and remember, taking a week or so to write your small business plan will save you time AND money in the future.




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