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Writing up English business plans

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  1. Writing up English business plans Wang, Yueh-chiu Helen Associate professor National Penghu University

  2. Chapter 1:Preparing to do a business plan • Finding friendly advice: Thanks to the internet, you can find business groups that regularly schedule online support meetings. • Business networking organizations are an invaluable resource for help in planning and running your business.

  3. Assembling your planning team • Small businesses: If your business is really just you—or maybe your and a couple of other people—making a plan for the company is your responsibility.

  4. Medium-size companies: If your company is a bit bigger, the process of creating your written plan requires more organization—and more people. Putting together a plan is a big job and involving your key people has a certain advantage.

  5. Large corporations: You have to make sure that your planners don’t create the plan all by themselves. Your planning staff should always work along side the managers and owners who actually have to carry out the business plan.

  6. Setting the ground rules • The clearer the ground rules, the smoother the process—and the happier your team. • Identify key steps: Typically, the process of writing a business plan includes five distinct steps: research, first draft, review, revised draft, and final review.

  7. Clearly assign duties: Everyone involved needs to know exactly what you expect from. • Establish a schedule: A business plan has to be timely, responding to the current business environment.

  8. Delegating responsibility • With a team in place, you have a group of people ready to read and review drafts, offer suggestions, and fine-tune the document to make it as good as you can possibly can. • Keep your team lean and mean. Involve only the number of people you really need to get the job done.

  9. Appoint people who want the job. But you need to make sure that whomever you choose is at least willing and able to complete the task. • Organize your team around the plan. By accomplishing this, you make sure that your people know the purpose of their task and how their work fits into the larger picture.

  10. Put one person in charge: Keep track of the whole process can be a job in itself, especially if you have a large team or a complicated plan. Make sure every person on the team understands that the person you choose has the ultimate authority.

  11. Appoint a wordsmith: A business plan is a written document. The writing style is clear and consistent throughout the plan.

  12. Putting your plan on paper • To succeed, you have to take the time to know your industry, customers, competitors, company resources, company’s unique qualities, company’s advantages, basic financial condition, and financial forecast and a budget.

  13. Your written plan should be 15 or 20 pages maximum. Remember that you can always support the main text with all the exhibits, appendixes, and references that you think it needs.

  14. Your written plan is forever a work in progress. You may want to keep it in a three-ring binder.

  15. Executive summary • Your executive summary touches on every important part of your business plan. It’s more than just a simple introduction; it’s the whole plan, only shorter. If they do, however, the summary points them to the right place.

  16. The executive summary isn’t much longer than a page or two. All you have to do is review the plan to identify the key ideas you want to cover. • The executive summary is the place where you summarize what your business plan says.

  17. Company overview • The company overview provides a place to make general observations about the nature of your business. • To put together a general company overview, you need to draw on several key planning documents, including the following:

  18. Value statement: The set of beliefs and principles that guide your company’s actions and activities • Vision statement: A phrase that announces where your company wants to go or paints a broad picture of what you want your company to become

  19. Mission statement: A statement of your company’s purpose; establishes what it is and what it does • Goals and objectives: A list of all the major goals that you set for your company, along with the objectives that you have to meet to achieve those goals.

  20. Business environment • Your business environment section covers all the major aspects of your company’s situation that are beyond your immediate control, including the nature of your industry, the direction of the marketplace, and the intensity of your competition.

  21. Company description • The description includes information about your management, the organization, new technology, your products and services, company operations, your marketing potential.

  22. Examining your company through your customers’ eyes helps. With a consumer viewpoint, you can sometimes discover customer value that your didn’t know you provide, and as a result, you can come up with additional long-term ways to compete in the market.

  23. Company strategy • Company strategy brings together everything that you know about your business environment and your company to come up with future projections. • Map out your basic strategies for dealing with the major parts of your business, including the industry, your markets, and competition.

  24. Everyone knows that the future is uncertain, so you need to talk about the ways your business world may be different in the future.

  25. Financial review • Your financial review covers both where you stand today and where you expect to be in the future. The basic financial statements include the following: (1) income statement, balance sheet, and cash-flow statement.

  26. Understanding the importance of a business plan • Planning is a strategy for survival. • Planning is one way to improve the odds of success in a business world that constantly changes. • Making a plan increases the likelihood that your company will be sitting in the right place at the right time down the road.

  27. We talk about your business plan as a guide to your company’s future and a record of where you have been and how you have done.

  28. Bringing your ideas into focus • A business plan is a particular view of your company both today and into the future, planning for the following things: • What your industry will look like • What markets you want to compete in • What competition you’ll be up against • What products and services you want to offer

  29. What value you can provide customers • What long-term advantages you think you will have • How big and profitable your company can become

  30. Looking forward • A brand-new company makes a business plan to get its bearings and often uses the plan to get funding. • An up-and-running company uses a plan to prepare for the inevitable changes in the marketplace. • A large company needs a plan so everybody sees the same view ahead.

  31. A small company constructs a plan to make sure it has the necessary resources to survive year-in and year-out.

  32. Looking back • Your business plan offers you an opportunity to keep score, allowing you to set goals for your company and then keep track of your achievements. • Your plan creates a view of the future. • Your plan maps out a direction to go in and the route to take.

  33. Your plan forecasts where you want to be.

  34. Looking around • Your plan comes in handy when you deal with the following people: • Suppliers you want to work with on a regular basis. • Distributors interested in carrying your product or service. • Customers you want to establish long-term relationships with.

  35. The board of directors or other advisers who want to offer their support. • Outside consultants you hire to help out with specific issues. • Bankers who decide to lend you money or shut you out.

  36. Investors who show interest in taking a stake in your company.

  37. Taking the first step • Get right to the point. You need to explain: • What you want to do • How you plan to do it • Who your customers will be • Why they should come to you and not the competition

  38. The number one reason you are convinced that this business will suceed.

  39. The planning behind the plan • Planning is both an art and a science. Putting together a serious business plan requires you to gather data, analyze the information, and then turn it into knowledge about your situation.

  40. When you think strategically about business plan: • Your clearly describe how to reach the goals and objectives that you set for your company. • You take into account the personal and social values that surround your company.

  41. You think about how to allocate and deploy your human and financial resources. • You create an advantage in the marketplace that you can sustain, despite intense and determined competition.

  42. Always keep the following questions in mind as you begin to formulate your business plans strategically: • What markets and customers do you intend to serve? • Which products and services do you plan to develop and support?

  43. Where is your company’s competitive advantage in these markets? • How can your company sustain that competitive advantage over time?

  44. Taking the first step • Business planning does take time and effort. But if you are excited about the business you are putting together, the process can be a lot of fun. In fact, maintaining your sense of excitement and enthusiasm and making sure you reflect it in your business plan is important.

  45. Is planning an art or science? • Planning is both an art and a science. Putting together a serious business plan requires you to gather data, analyze the information, and then turn it into knowledge about your situation.

  46. A serious business plan requires that you think strategically. • When you think strategically about business plans, you clearly describe how to reach the goals and objectives that you set for your company.

  47. You take into account the personal and social values that surround your company. • You think about how to allocate and deploy your human and financial resources.

  48. You create an advantage in the marketplace that you can sustain, despite intense and determined competition.

  49. Always keep the following questions in mind as you begin to formulate your business plans strategically: • What markets and customers do you intend to serve? • Which products and services do you plan to develop and support?

  50. Where is your company’s competitive advantage in these markets? • How can your company sustain that competitive advantage over time?