Business Of Fashion How To Write A Business Plan Eight Steps To The Next Level – The Business Plan, "The Engine of Small Business Development"

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Eight Steps To The Next Level – The Business Plan, "The Engine of Small Business Development"

This is the second of a series of articles describing how small business owners and managers can drive their business’s growth and profitable development through the creation and implementation of a business plan.

I know the prevailing view among many small business people is that “planning” is for the larger, more substantial business and “they are too busy running their business to have time for planning”. In fact, many small business owners are “too busy” running the business, but they ignore, at their peril and survival, that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

I strongly believe that the small business owner will benefit from engaging in this business planning process because of the nature of carefully examining and thinking through the way their business competes and operates; – and how it will align with their decision about “what business they want to be in”.

This business planning process results in a stronger, more profitable business that provides real value to its customers and the marketplace.

The business planning process described in this article is the most logical, pragmatic and practical study of the small business. This process is far from arcane or mysterious, but focuses totally on the reality of the small business environment (the business, the economy, the competition, the needs, wants and desires of the customers, as well as the determination and allocation of the company’s resources).

Business Planning Process – Eight Major Steps

For the past thirty years, I have successfully used the following business and strategic marketing planning process. The following process consists of eight main steps which are sequential and continuous. I will describe the nature and function of each of these steps.

This process applies to all types of organizations; regardless of size, products, services or industry… I have even used this process with a national religious organization.

1. DEVELOP MISSION AND POSITIONING DIRECTION

2. SITUATION REVIEW

one. Internal

b. External

3. WOTSUP ANALYSIS

4. TO MAKE AN ADVERTISEMENT

5. DEVELOPMENT OF OBJECTIVES

6. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT

7. SPECIFY TACTICS AND ACTIONS

8. PREPARE FORECASTS/BUDGETS/FINANCES

1. MISSION AND POSITIONING STATEMENT

In terms of defining your company’s purpose and mission, there is only one focus, one starting point; it is the customer or the user of your products/services. The user defines the mission of any function or business. The question “what is our mission or purpose” “what business do we want to be in?” can therefore be answered by only looking at your business from the outside, from the point of view of the customer or potential customer. What the user or customer sees, thinks or believes at any given moment must be accepted by your company management as an objective fact in order to be taken seriously.

By definition, the customer buys the satisfaction of a want or need.

For example, here is a well-known and real-life example of a business mission that defined the way the company carried out its activities.

A drill manufacturer defined their mission as determining “what size holes customers need”, their focus was directly on customers’ needs and not on their product specifications. They were customer focused and very successful.

Once the mission statement is complete, develop the competitive advantage positioning statement and prepare the USP – your unique selling proposition. “Why the company is able to deliver more effective solutions and greater value than the competition.”

2. THE SITUATION AUDIT – Internal and External

The situation audit is a description and analysis of past, present and future data (information) which forms the basis for pursuing the business planning process. It is an organized method to:

  • collection of relevant information
  • interpret its effect on the company’s environments (market conditions)
  • analyze significant trends
  • projection of all relevant factors that may affect the company’s activities.

3. WOTSUP ANALYSIS

The acronym WOTSUP stands for Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats and Strengths Underlying Planning. This step arises naturally from the factual basis (Situation Audit). The weaknesses and strengths constitute an internal analysis, i.e. “what are we good and bad at?”-

Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, constitute an external analysis. From this analysis, goals can be formulated with specific action plans designed to overcome weaknesses and threats by leveraging the company’s strengths and opportunities.

4. REQUIREMENTS:

Assumptions make planning possible. Without the use of assumptions, planning would be nearly impossible. Since planning deals with “the future of present decision-making” and events in the future are almost impossible to predict with unerring accuracy; – prerequisites enable planning.

5. DEVELOPMENT OF OBJECTIVES

Overall objectives are the real core of the business and marketing planning process. They deserve every ounce of time and effort – often frustrating. The objectives form the umbrella under which the balance of the entire planning structure is built up. Because of the key role they play, they must be thought through and expressed in the most specific and concrete way. In the simplest terms, a goal is… “what do you want to achieve?” Objectives are drawn up to overcome weaknesses and threats developed in the WOTSUP analysis and exploit the opportunities and strengths.

6. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT:

Once the goals are developed, the formulation of strategies is the next step in the process. In a broad sense, strategies must explain how the goals are achieved.

7. SPECIFY ACTION PROGRAMS:

After the goals and strategies have been developed, describe the work to be done. The actions must be very specific; what work is to be done, by whom, how and when.

8. PREPARED FORECASTS/BUDGETS/FINANCIALS:

Once completed, the action programs form the basis for budget preparation. The costs of each action and the revenues from the detailed actions generate the operating budget and cash flows for the business plan.

Many organizations confuse planning with budgeting. An important purpose of the budget is to ensure that the company has sufficient financial resources to operate. Budgeting is about not failing, planning is about what is possible.

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