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A business planViews: 169
Nov 20, 2007 5:05 am re: re: A business plan

The question was asked earlier about some important facets of the business plan. I have been told and trained that the most critical part is the Executive Summary, especially if you are seeking funding. It's still a necessary document even if you aren't seeking funds because it gives an overall snapshot view of the entirety of your whole BP, but covers the specific points that are of great interest to investors. What should go into one is the who, what, where, when and a summary of the how...as well as how much you're looking for, how soon it will be paid back, and your exit strategy, are among the most important aspects of the ES.

The BP, as was stated earlier, is a road map giving you a direction. Why it is important for EVERYONE who owns a business to have one is to ensure they follow the steps. All too often, business owners who do not have a BP, will make costly mistakes by not doing things in the right sequence. The mistakes not only cost money, but waste time. Sure, you may gain some lessons learned, but is it a cost you can afford. If you've never started up a business before, it is also wise to get advice onto what should be done first, and next, and next. Too often business owners think one thing should be done, and instead they should be concentrating their efforts on something more important that should be done first.

I've written dozens of business plans. I use a template that seems to work well. Mike Fesler will tell you about several of his clients for whom I wrote their initial plans and where they are today. As was stated earlier, a BP needs to grow and evolve with the company, so periodic reviews are necessary. Another reason it is important for a business to have one is so that the employees know and understand the company's mission and how it will be accomplished. Mike stated there are different kinds of BPs, and he's right...you wouldn't want to give your banker the same BP you show to your employees. Besides, a banker won't read much of it...he/she will focus on the ES and financials...they want to see a cash flow analysis and break-even analysis, besides the typical P&L statements.

A board member for a bank that also was on the advisory board of a company I've been working with said that he felt the best document to show the bank was a Marketing Plan and the ES. Why? The marketing plan takes the BP to the highest level of planning. It gives a detailed summary of where, when, who gets the money your company is spending on advertising and marketing, and how you plan to promote and distribute your products. It's a detailed analysis of your customer base and their wants and needs and how you will provide for them. Most businesses cannot survive without some form of advertising...or at least some kind of promotional efforts (whether they cost or you use free methods of promotion). They still need to be delineated so that everyone in the company knows the deadlines, where the money will be spent, and who the customer is and what are their hot buttons. If you can't make sales, your company isn't going anywhere.

As for length of the documents...they need to be as long as necessary to cover the topic well enough that it's clearly understood by the audience the BP/Marketing Plan was intended for. Can you have too much information...not likely. Will it all be read, not by everyone who picks it up...but it should be used by the owner and his/her managers/directors on a regular basis whether or not you're looking for funding or not.

If anyone has specific questions about business or marketing plans, please feel free to send me a private message or direct it to my email. I'd be glad to help you out.

Denise Minacapelli, MBA
As You Wish
Your Extra Hands When Needed


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