What is a business plan?
A business plan is a blueprint to the projected development of your business in realistic and definitive terms. Developing a business plan establishes a series of goalposts that help you as a business owner to track the growth and success of your operations, while keeping an eye on your financial sustainability.
Why a business plan?
Preparing a business plan helps your business in a number of tangible ways. Gaining financial help from lenders can be difficult without a comprehensive business plan. A lender wants to know that your business is viable, that it is sustainable and that some serious thought has gone into its operations, marketability and future growth.
A startup business plan can be used to determine if your business idea is commercially feasible. And, despite the initial effort and expense, a professional business plan will save you time and money by establishing measurable goals and objectives, assist in securing clients and contracts and add value to your business offering should you wish to sell or exit your business at a future date.
What's in a business plan?
There are a few key characteristics of your business plan development that are needed for a useful, comprehensive outcome. They include:
- A summary of your business – a mission statement, business objectives and structure including owner and client profiles
- Your industry identified and analysed – what industry issues will impact your business's operations (economic, political, social, environmental, techological) and how you plan to address these.
- A business marketing plan – what is your target market/demographic, an analyses of your competition, a SWOT analysis, any market research
- A description of your operational situation – the physical location of your business, your suppliers, staff and equipment
- Financial plan – including your financial resources and objectives, cash flow forecasts and your overheads and liabilities
Business planning – what to do next
Developing a business plan is a great achievement and a step towards the future success and growth of your business. However it is just as important to ensure that your business plan is an active and intrinsic part of the everyday running of your company. The business world is changeable and dynamic and your business plan must be able to respond proactively to this change. A business plan should be reviewed regularly, ideally by a professional business plan consultant who can provide ongoing support and advice.
Business value chain – what is it, why is it important?
Developing a competitive advantage and increasing the value of your business requires a number of strategies and activities that can be modelled by viewing the business system as a chain of value-creating stages, or simply - a business value chain.
An example of a business's value chain may include product creation, product distribution and, finally, customer service and support. These value chain stages can often be identified throughout the business planning process.
It is important to identify your business's value chain in order to assess any individual links that may require improvement or restructuring. Your business's success is determined by how well you add value to your product offering in order to gain the most profit while not decreasing quality and efficiency. The success of your business can rest on a successful analysis of your business's value chain and the merit of your business development plans.
Business planning services at Gateway
Professional consultants at Gateway Financial Partners are experts in the field of value chain analysis and business planning and have been helping businesses for more than 20 years. Our professionals can sit down with you to help map out the future of your business and offer advice on how to get your business where you want it to be. For an obligation-free meeting with one of our partners call us on 07 3226 1800 or complete our online contact form.