How Business Planning Can Secure Your Company’s Future


Planning is an essential cornerstone for securing your company’s future in the constantly evolving and highly competitive business landscape. A business plan isn’t just a tool; it’s a comprehensive guide charting a course for your company’s future.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a detailed, formal statement of business goals, why they are believed to be attainable, and the strategy for reaching them. It often includes information about the organization or team attempting to achieve these goals and a comprehensive analysis of the relevant market and competition.

What are the elements of a business plan?

Here are the common elements of a business plan:

Executive Summary: This is the first section of the plan. It provides an overview of the entire plan, summarizing the key points.

Business Description: This section provides information about the business, including what it does, its industry, its mission and vision, and its unique selling points.

Market Analysis: This is where you detail your market research, including who your customers are, your competition, the size of the market, and how your product or service fits into this market.

Organization and Management: This section details your legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation), management team, and staff. You may also include an organizational chart.

Service or Product Line: Here’s where you describe what you are selling or what service you are offering. It can include details about product life cycle, intellectual property, and research and development activities.

Marketing and Sales Strategy: This part of the plan outlines your strategy for attracting and retaining customers. It can include your pricing strategy, sales tactics, and advertising and promotion activities.

Funding Request: If you’re seeking funding, this section outlines your current funding requirements, future funding needs over the next five years, how you will use the funds you receive, and the types of funding you would consider.

Financial Projections: This section aims to convince the reader that your business is stable and will succeed financially. If you are a startup, you’ll need to provide prospective financial data and analysis.

Appendix: An optional section that includes résumés and permits.

Why is a business plan essential?

Creating a business plan is essential for several reasons:

Strategic Focus: A business plan helps owners maintain a strategic focus by clearly defining the business’ mission, vision, and goals. It establishes the direction the company needs to take to succeed.

Set Priorities: A business plan sets priorities and financial, operational, and marketing objectives.

Attract Investors: If you’re seeking financing, a well-structured business plan is a prerequisite. Investors and lenders will want to understand your business’ history, trajectory, and potential for return on investment.

Risk Management: A business plan helps identify potential risks in your business model and your strategy for mitigating them.

Feasibility Analysis: A business plan helps you assess whether there’s a market for your product or service and if your business can make a profit.

Performance Metrics: A business plan provides a reference point against which you can measure your performance. Having a metric helps track progress.

Management Tool: A business plan serves as a tool that can be referred to regularly to see if the business is on course with meeting goals, sales targets, or other operational milestones.

Exit Strategy: A business plan prepare your business for potential sale and sets forth how the business can be marketed to potential buyers to achieve maximum value.

The role of professionals

Preparing a business plan involves different areas of expertise, and often professionals are engaged to ensure that the plan is comprehensive, accurate, and compelling. The professionals you might consider include:

Your financial advisor: A financial advisor, especially one who is also a certified public accountant, can create realistic financial projections, including profit and loss, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. The advisor will use their understanding of finance and accounting to make reasonable assumptions about revenues, costs, and growth rates.

If the business is seeking funding, a financial advisor can suggest the best way to secure this funding, considering various options like bank loans, venture capital, private equity, or crowdfunding. They can advise on the appropriate capital structure that aligns with your risk profile and growth plans.

A financial advisor can assist in creating a comprehensive budget that includes all potential expenses. They can help identify areas where costs can be reduced, and efficiency can be improved.

A financial advisor can help identify and develop strategies to mitigate financial risks. This might include mitigating currency risk, if the business is international and managing cash flow.

A financial advisor can help with business valuation, determining what the business is worth based on its financial outlook.

A financial advisor can also help plan an exit strategy, like a sale or merger.

Business Consultants: These professionals can advise on the plan’s overall strategy and help shape its structure. They have experience across various industries and can provide insights you may not have considered.

Accountants: A qualified accountant can help with the financial section of your plan, including projections, capital structure, budgeting, and other financial details. They can ensure that the financials are realistic, accurate, and make sense for your type of business.

Market Research Firms: These firms can provide critical information about your target market, competition, and industry trends. This information is essential for demonstrating there is a viable market for your product or service.

Lawyers: Legal professionals can provide valuable input about intellectual property, business structure, and regulatory concerns.

Industry Experts: Depending on your industry, you may also want to involve professionals with specific industry knowledge. They can provide valuable insights into trends and norms for your industry.

Graphic Designers and Copywriters: The presentation of your business plan is critical. A graphic designer can help make the document visually appealing, while a copywriter can ensure your ideas are communicated clearly and persuasively.

The professionals you choose should not only have the necessary expertise but should also understand your vision for the business and be able to communicate your ideas clearly. While hiring professionals may increase the cost of creating your business plan, their expertise can prove invaluable in creating a plan that helps you achieve your goals.