Advanced Business Planning
- A simple business plan deals with things like gross revenues for your industry in the applicable markets, but an advanced business plan must present an in-depth analysis of your industry. One very important aspect of this is industry maturity. As technologies continue to develop and social conditions change, industries that have long exhibited stability and growth can sometimes take a sudden downturn. An industry that is new may promise quick growth in the near future and stable growth for some time after that, while an industry that is old may start to decline soon, and it may not be wise to invest in expansion there. Show how you expect your industry to develop in the near future and give solid evidence of how technological and social trends will affect that.
- Study your competitors and give an honest representation of their strengths. Do not make the mistake that rudimentary-level business planners make by underestimating your competition. If you do feel that other companies have overlooked certain aspects of the market or the industry that leaves them vulnerable to your incursion, give concrete reasons for why this is so -- and show some ways in which you could possibly be wrong. Prepare a table that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of your company as well as your competitors, showing how, even if you do not manage to aggressively steal the market from them, you can still be substantially competitive.
- Marketing means much more than advertising in the telephone book or search engines. When you develop your marketing plan, look at your marketing budget and consider all of the methods you may use within the bounds of this budget to increase client exposure to your product or service. Calculate how you will apportion your advertising dollars relative to the effectiveness of various advertising methods and show how you will continue to gauge the effectiveness of various methods such that you can adapt your budget in the future. Give examples of other marketing techniques such as product bundling, strategic partnerships, customer-based marketing and promotions and show how you will use these methods in concert with your advertising campaign.
- A simple operation plan consists primarily of a flow chart that shows key personnel and levels of authority. To go beyond this, you must give detailed descriptions of the various aspects of your operations structure. Describe any manufacturing, storage, research or office facilities you have and the state they are in. Give full explanations of the overhead costs related to running such facilities and why they are necessary. Assess your production plan by showing your production capacity and how you will perform such necessary tasks as quality control -- and who will be in charge of them. Tell how you will organize, store and transport inventory and how your inventory structure allows you to fill orders quickly. Identify your suppliers and tell why you work with them. Identify possible problems that can occur with your supply chain and how you will deal with them. Give an account of how you will implement financial controls, ensuring that you will be able to identify problems like waste, theft, inefficiencies and employee fraud.
- If your business relies on the continuing development of technology -- whether in-house or by third parties -- give a full analysis of the technologies you currently have and technologies you plan to have in the future. Show how the advent of such technologies will increase productivity and decrease costs. Give detailed examples of how your technology is superior to your competitors' technology. Present this information in diagrams and charts in such a way that its importance and meaning are clear to the investors, lenders, partners or employees who see it.