Planning for the future is a virtue of successful people and successful companies. It represents proactive and responsible behavior, which does not depend only on external factors, but creates its own path, in harmony with the external environment. Some entrepreneurs run businesses intuitively, and there is nothing wrong with that, if they are choosing the best solutions this way. But there is also nothing wrong with adding some research, analytics and Excel to intuition. After all, we have two hemispheres in the brain, of which the right is more creative or intuitive, and the left is more analytical or rational.
Although a business plan is more analytical than a creative tool in planning, this does not mean that it does not contribute to the development of new ideas, proposing new solutions and inspiring new visions. With a business plan, we can inspirean investor, attract staff, negotiate a loan more easily, and much more.
The business plan represents a reflection of company’s current situation, and most importantly, offers a vision in which direction the company should go in the future. By defining values, mission, vision and goals, it outlines its future path, uses SWOT analysis to assess its strengths and opportunities, determines opportunities and identifies threats. Through the analysis of the industry and trends, the company makes an overview of the current and future external environment, and through the analysis of customers and competitors clearly defines its market. Financial projections for the next 5 years reveal whether the company will operate profitably. The risk analysis prepares the company for unexpected events, the schedule defines what needs to be done and when, and in the presentation of the team clarifies who is actually behind the company.
The business plan is needed by the company’s management primarily for itself, as a reflection of current status and vision of future business. It can also be usefully used to obtain credit or external investors and apply for EU funds. It comes in handy when changing the corporate identity, and the text from the business plan can also be used to renovate the website. Many of the texts we have prepared as part of the business plan are now published on the clients’ websites, from values, mission, vision, to an overview of the products and services.
A business plan is a document, but it should be a living document. Preparing a business plan should not be hard work, but a creative brainstorming process that reflects on the current business and outlines the way forward. Often, when preparing or reading a business plan, new ideas are formed that would otherwise be overlooked. Recently, a client for whom we have prepared a business plan said: “While I read and think about it over and over again, new ideas are coming to me.”
The business plan is an important safeguard that forces the company’s management to answer some unpleasant questions. “What will we do if the biggest customer terminates our contract? How will we react to Infringement of intellectual property rights? What actions will we take if the cost of materials increases by 50%?” These are all questions we can turn a blind eye to, or we can face them bravely, take the necessary actionbs, appoint a trustee and describe all this in a business plan.
An important part of the business plan is market research: industry, trends, customers and competition. If we do not analyze the industry and trends, we will not be well prepared for future changes. If we do not know the psychological profile of our customers, we do not know well to whom we are selling. And if we do not know our competitors, we do not know who we are actually competing in the market with and how we are different from our competitors. If we do not know how to answer this clearly, then we do not know how to answer the customer question “Why would I choose you”? In the business plan, we present all these relations systematically and clearly, in an understandable way for all who will read it.
Two decades of preparing business plans in various activities for different companies, from startups to established mature companies, is a unique know-how that few have. It is a combination of analytics and creativity, rational judgment and intuition, or, if you want, a combination of the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The business plan we prepare in our team is rational enough for a bank or investor, innovative enough to apply for EU funds, creative enough to create a corporate identity, enthusiastic enough for new business ideas. And strong enough to change your business.
More information and help with building business plan you can find at Poslovni načrt.si