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006 Business Planning Process MapSuccessfully launching a new business or initiative requires careful planning and the results of a business planning process are usually captured in a business plan. Naturally, entrepreneurial activities can be substantially different depending on the type of organization being started. Smaller entrepreneurial businesses may need only limited financing to get them off the ground or need only relatively minor loans to get them up and running. According to many research studies of successful entrepreneurs, there are a number of traits that are common to these individuals. Persistence—never showing discouragement, always thinking of new ways to approach a problem and acting on ideas. Motivation—the mental and physical drive to succeed, to accomplish chosen tasks on his or her own terms. Confidence—having a firm belief in his or her own capabilities and his or her chances of success. Willingness to Take Risks—the readiness to sacrifice his or her own financial security, if need be, in order to accomplish his or her goals (especially at the outset). Communication Skills—the ability to express him or herself well and to understand others so that ideas can be shared.
Becoming an entrepreneur is theoretically an option for everyone but many are reluctant to make this choice.
Research (conducted by the Warwick Business School in the UK) suggests that the average entrepreneur or founder of a new enterprise is married (over 75% are), has children, and worked for many years at a larger company or for someone else before branching out and starting his or her own business. Although it varies according to the type of entrepreneurial business, across all categories around 75% of entrepreneurs are men and 25% are women. An entrepreneurial life is not for everyone but if you do want to consider it (inside an existing business or when you are a starting a new one) you will need to have the temperament for the task and be prepared to perform many roles (or wear many hats). Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies.
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The other important component of a strategic plan is an environmental scan, which reveals potential threats of the company as well as strengths. The other part of strategic planning is strategy implementation, which involves using the company resources to ensure that its objectives are achieved. Many entrepreneurs and small business executives either don’t have the time or the staff to adequately plan their marketing activities.  For most they would simply jump straight to the end of the story and start talking tactics. While all these tactics may be effective for your business how do you know which ones to use if you have not taken the time to properly set objectives and plan your strategy? Like a general going to war you need to have an end goal in mind – your mission.  Once that has been developed you can then set your objectives.
Contact me if you are interested in discussing a strategic marketing plan for your business. What do you think about ranking on the top slot of Google for a question thanks to two free services – Squidoo and Prezi?
Ranking high in Google is certainly desirable, a top 5 ranking is what you should shoot for. Any investor or those in an existing business responsible for approving new initiatives will invariably want to see a business plan before making any financial commitment. The innovation piece of the process then means that there is always some level of creativity or new thinking, and not just a “me-too” approach or one that offers very little that is different. Entrepreneurship ranges in scale from solo projects (even involving the entrepreneur only part-time) to major undertakings creating many job opportunities.  Small entrepreneurial activities may involve establishing “trade” businesses (such as starting a plumbing, carpentry, personal coaching or hairdressing business, for example).

An entrepreneur possesses a variety of different characteristics that provide a skill set for achieving success and a high level of reward. However, those women who do set up and run new enterprises have equivalent levels of success when compared to men. Even in subsequent start-ups, more than half of the entrepreneurs rely on their personal savings.
As the statistics above indicate, there are a number of common characteristics of entrepreneurs but none of these needs to be an inhibitor if an individual is truly committed to the cause and has a good idea that they want to personally take to market. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. A strategic plan includes having a mission statement that describes the vision of the company. Strategic formulation is another important part of planning strategically which seeks to enable the company to attain much needed profits and to be superior to its competitors. The business plan, besides being a prerequisite for gaining access to finance, also provides the blueprint for successfully creating and running a new venture.
Essentially, it is a road map of where you currently are with your business to where you want to take your business. Larger or more significant entrepreneurial activities could involve a new manufacturing process or a totally new technology offering, for example. With the guidance if the vision the company states its objectives as part of strategic planning process. The last part of strategic planning is evaluation since for a plan to be successful it has to be monitored.
Even in fast-moving markets where the plan itself may quickly become outdated the insight gained from the planning process that created it remains invaluable. Along this map will be smooth sailing as well as mountains and valleys, but if you make a good plan and stick to it, there is no reason you can’t succeed. A business plan describes the business’s vision and objectives as well as the strategy and tactics that will be employed to achieve them. This sounds easy enough, but you need to be serious about this plan and make sure that you include everything necessary to ensure a positive outcome.It can be helpful to work with an outline when writing a business plan.
A plan may also provide the basis for operational budgets, targets, procedures and management controls.
These are the basic elements of any professional business plan: The Executive SummaryThe single most important part of your business plan is the executive summary.
This is an abstract of your entire business plan and should highlight all of the goals and content that will be found in the following pages of the plan. If you are looking for outside funding, this is even more important as this summary is how you will introduce yourself and your company to potential investors. The task of writing a business plan is a lot easier if you have a template that can be tailored to the specific needs of your business.
You should make sure that this includes a history of your company, your mission statement, any monetary requirements you need, why your business is better than your competitors and mention where you see your finances going over the next three to four years. The book “Guide to Business Planning” by Graham Friend and Stefan Zehle provides such template. It also explains how to design and present a business plan to maximise the likelihood of its gaining approval or funding. Although the presentation of the final business plan is important, ultimately the substance of the plan is most crucial.

You can do either, just make sure you get all of the most important parts of your plan in there as this might be the only part of the plan some people read.
The strategies and tactics described in the plan should be the outputs from a logical and appropriately comprehensive business planning process. Your Company DescriptionYou will want to include a detailed description of your company in your business plan, too. The book provides a practical step-by-step business planning process and a reference for the tools and techniques necessary to complete it. This will tell readers what your business is, what your business does and how you will make a profit.
Your Businesses Marketing PlanIn order to be a success, you need to make sure that you are marketing your business to customers. The process should begin by evaluating the environment in which the business operates before analysing the specific industry and the suppliers, competitors and customers within it. The insight from this analysis and an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the business or new venture, combined with a set of expectations about the future, can be coupled with creative and innovative thinking to develop a range of strategic options for evaluation. Though this can change as you adjust to changing market conditions, you should have a basic plan in place to show people what you plan to do to get your brand out there on the market.
The evaluation stage includes developing forecasts (notably for market demand), financial projections and, in some cases, a range of valuations, as well as calculating various measures of performance with which to validate and benchmark the forecasts. The business planning process should test alternative ideas and assumptions, as one of the main reasons for planning is to help the business prepare for an uncertain future. In this section of your business plan, you should explain what your product or service is, how it will benefit your customers and why your product or service is a better option than your competitor’s product or service.
Your Sales StrategyNow that you have explained your product or service to your business plan readers, you need to tell them how you will sell your product or service.
All of these can be effective in their own way, but one method will work best for your product or service, so make sure to figure out what it is then put this information in your business plan. Your Management TeamIt is also important to mention your management team, as well as their titles. Your FinancesThis is the section of your business plan where you will explain your expectations with finances.
This should include a break-even analysis, sample balance sheet, cash flow projection and other financial information like how much you are willing to invest into the business out of your pocket. Your Supporting DocumentsFinally, you will want to attach any and all supporting documents for your business plan. These often include charts and graphs you have made, any marketing documents or logos, research you have completed and references.This is just a basic outline for a business plan but certainly has everything in it that you would need to include. By following this outline, speaking with people who have been through the situation before, and researching on your own, you should be able to write the perfect business plan. But if you’d like a little more assistance with the process, you might want to try these sample business plans and business plan templates. She is a contributing writer to this and other blogs and also writes email newsletter articles, press releases and web content.
Prior to her writing career, Natalie worked in various fields including real estate, equipment leasing and banking.

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