Your business plan provides a framework for you to structure your thoughts and decide what needs to happen, how it needs to happen, and when it needs to happen. But what exactly should be included in this plan?
The executive summary is a snapshot of your business – Who are you? What do you do? Where are you going? Along with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on the business, the mission, the vision and the goals of your business are a particularly important part of the executive summary. They provide the core statements that will guide the rest of your plan. The summary will then turn into a description of how you operate your business—the set up, compliance, trademarks etc. The summary really encapsulates your business as it stands and puts it into 10-20 pages.
The marketing plan, which includes another SWOT analysis, has customer profiling, pricing, your target customer, different ways you can talk about features, benefits and advantages of your products/services.
The HR plan is more about the business owner and your team — what skills the business has, job descriptions, the organizational structure, award/pay rates etc.
This section involves the sorts of equipment your business has currently as opposed to what you may need later on. It also includes financial forecasting around implementing IT strategies for growth.
Risk Management Plan
Risk management identifies your risk tolerance as a business owner and what could potentially close down your business (financially or otherwise). Once identified, you can look at how to mitigate the risk and prioritize accordingly. A risk management plan is important in consolidating your business foundations.
Performance Management Plan
Performance management involves setting KPI indicators for your business: targets and goals that you want to achieve. By celebrating each achievement you know you are on track with your business plan.
The financial component of your business plan looks at how you move cash in and out of the business, your forecasting controls, the cost of your goods and delivering those goods and services, and profit margins.
An action plan is essentially a prioritized list of reminders, and needs to identify all of the things you need to do that have not been done in your business plan. At the bottom of the list should be a reminder to review your business plan at specific points in time, so that you can reflect and update. This article is based on an extract from the MentorNet mentoring program session on Business Planning. For more information about the HerBusiness’s mentoring services, see the Mentoring section of this website. For details of the next Business Plans Made Easy course, click here. This article was co-authored by Elizabeth Rowe. Elizabeth graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) at the ANU and a Masters of Media Practice at the University of Sydney. She is currently completing an internship with the Australian Businesswomen’s Network.