The Simple Business Plan

Let’s be honest; business is hard.  As the old saying goes, “if it were easy, everyone would do it.”  Well, it isn’t, and it’s time we acknowledge that.  Fortunately, there are people like me who work hard to help business owners simplify the process; to help make business easier.  A key part of the business process is the Business Plan.  Often reviled, commonly misunderstood and even abhorred, having a Business Plan is important to success.  Simplifying the business plan development process is a part of what I do.  Having a  business plan affords you all of the advantages of the more common and complex one without the extensive amount of work and detail commonly used to create them.

Do you need a business plan?  Only if you want to be successful.  If you can’t plan your work and then work your plan, all you are doing is floating along.  Whether you are a startup or an existing business, a good business plan will help you be successful.

Let’s talk about business plans:

Research shows that those businesses that have a business plan are more likely to grow or obtain funding.  In a study conducted by Palo Alto Software:

2,877 people completed the survey. Of those, 995 had completed a plan.

  • 297 of them (36%) secured a loan
  • 280 of them (36%) secured investment capital
  • 499 of them (64%) had grown their business

1,556 of the 2,877 had not yet completed their plan.

  • 222 of them (18%) secured a loan
  • 219 of them (18%) secured investment capital
  • 501 of them (43%) had grown their business

Now that we see the value, let’s begin with what makes up a business plan.  Commonly we see seven key components to a business plan.  These are:

  • Executive Summary.
  • Company Description.
  • Products and Services.
  • Market analysis.
  • Strategy and Implementation.
  • Organization and Management Team.
  • Financial plan and projections.

Once the average Business Owner or Leader sees that list, the first reaction is something like, “I think I have something else I need to do.”  Consequently, I’ve simplified that for my clients.

  • Mission/Vision/Values
  • Marketing Strategy
  • People
  • Scorecard
  • Process

Just like the traditional Business Plan has sub-components to each of their seven main components, so do each of mine.  The real secret to mine is that it focuses on your only needing to manage five areas instead of seven.  This reduces the management clutter that many owners experience.  Further, as the People component develops, you’ll have key individuals who can take on monitoring and managing other components.

Over the next six weeks, we’ll address these components and help you design, develop, and execute your business plan.  Next week, The Simple Business Plan – Mission, Vision, and Values.