Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How To Organize A Business Plan

When you are involved with a business it is important that you have a clear direction and that your business has a plan of attack. The business plan is a document that will outline a number of key areas that your business will need to consider to achieve success.
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The business plan will identify your businesses goals, and look at how you can successfully implement processes and procedures to obtain those goals. This will draw on a range of business areas, including accounting, HR, marketing and operations.

How you progress with your business plan can be unique as your business; however the key areas that are usually developed for a business plan are as follows.

o Your organizations background
o Management structure and plans for your business
o Organisational marketing plan
o Operations planning
o Financial planning of the business
o Goals and actions to take with the business

Once you have understood these areas are ready to move forward with your business plan then you can consider how to structure it. This is a straightforward process. For those who are great at the ideas generation, but tend to get stuck on the nitty gritty details, a business template is the perfect option for you.

A template for your business plan will outline the priority information that is required, and whilst you can pay someone to do this for you, there are a number of free templates available. Try doing a quick search of the net and plenty of options come up.

Typically your business focus will dictate the precise contents of your business plan, but getting a basic feel for what is required goes hand in hand with the production of a concise plan, tailored just for your business.

The contents page of your business plan may read something like this.

o Executive Summary
o Organisational Goals
o Management Plan
o Research and Analysis on Target Market
o Marketing Plan
o Operational Planning
o Financial Organisation
o Progress Plans

One of the key areas that you will cover in your business plan is the Executive Summary. Again this can be as individual as your business, but it will need to focus on decisions that need to be made by your organization, and sell the reasons for approval of that course of action.

The final thing that you will need to consider with your business plan is who your target audience is. If you are a large corporation with a number of external stakeholders, such as shareholders and board members, then you will need to prepare your business plan to reflect this. A business plan that targets this audience will often be detailed in its financial analysis and its progress reporting.

If you are a smaller business, or you are self employed then your business plan most likely serves a different purpose. Most likely your business plan is focused on distribution to internal stakeholders. This being the case you will want your plan to focus on goals and progress that needs to be made by the key individuals or departments in the company. An example of this is the strategic business plan, which states internal targets for the organisation, as well as giving information about how to reach the goals laid out in the strategic planning.

Whatever you organisation is involved in, a business plan is a vital document. Even in its simplest form, there is no doubt that having a set of guidelines and goals is a key to ensuring success and progression in your chosen field of business.

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