Why have a business Plan
Business planning is important. A poor business plan is important for what it does not do! If you have purchased or downloaded a Business Plan and filled in a template questionnaire type document you may have arrived at the finish and wondered what it was for.
The truth is you have answered someone else’s questions. Many of these plans end up in a drawer and are never looked at again.
The point of a Business Plan is in the Planning. There are 3 functions of a good business plan.
- To organise and prioritise your resources
- To show someone else that you know what you are doing
- To act as a blueprint for running the business
The organisation and prioritisation of resources is most obvious. But let's decide now, at the planning stage, just who is needed to make it all work. Let's have all the contacts in place so that come the day of the launch it is all prepared.
Showing off to someone else is important. No Bank will go along with you unless it has confidence the money is in safe hands. Similarly with an investor, or a grant authority. None of them will run your business for you and they all have a reputational risk and other compliance issues to consider.
The third function is often ignored unfortunately. Any business should sit back and take stock every so often. The largest companies do that in a board meeting. ‘What have we done? Where are we going? What have we forgotten?’ In essence these are the questions raised at every board meeting and are what what a successful small business needs also.
Parts of the business plan will always need revision. It is a Plan after all, and your best educated assessment at the beginning. As time progresses some of it will be overtaken by events. If it has been done well it will need revising upwards. If not so much, then new strategies are needed. Understanding the structure and limitations of your business is vital.
Whatever the case a Business Plan needs to be done and needs to be done well.
Further Information & Help
Please contact us for further information or an initial meeting.
A community arts project wanted a gallery in a run down area and the committee had little experience in Business. Bob Shepherd Associates produced a business plan that was able to justify the investment while introducing a necessary commercial edge with arts classes and workshops to supplement income.
A local Council wanted to offload a loss making Leisure Centre to the community so that Grants could be obtained by a Trust organisation set up to run it. Bob Shepherd Associates advised the supporters group on setting up a Company limited by Guarantee and ran several short workshop presentations to include everyone to the Business Planning. A substantial business plan was produced that incorporated all the functions of the Leisure Centre, developed some corporate training, some Special Events, some links with Sporting Associations and produced a recommended cash flow that would save £100k per year. Additionally we went with the Trustees to a number of meetings to the Council to argue the case. The plan subsequently formed the core of a feasibility study.