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The Business Plan as an essential tool in Business Management

2022, Nov 25

The Business Plan as an essential tool in Business Management

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  • Five Key Roles Of A Business Plan

by James Burgess | Jun 10, 2020 | Business Planning | 0 comments

functions of a business plan as a management tool

Business plans are like road maps or your GPS – they make your trip more efficient. Although you can proceed with your startup business without a business plan, there are high chances of getting lost along the way. On the other hand, if you have a road map or a plan to guide you, you will remember where you are headed and you can reach it faster with more effective strategies.

functions of a business plan as a management tool

3.       Preparing for the big ones A lot of small and medium enterprises do not get to last for five years because they do not prepare for the big mistakes or the most common mistakes that cause the failure of a lot of businesses. These common reasons for failure are addressed in the business plan. Here are some of the most common mistakes:

  •         There is no market need, which means nobody needs or wants what is being sold
  •         There is a lack of capital or the company runs out of money
  •         Your hired team or employees are not the right people for the business
  •         Competition around you is rigid resulting in a very unprofitable situation
  •         Prices for products or services are either too high or too low

4.       Recognizing viability A business plan will help you recognize if your vision is viable in the market. A business plan can ground your lofty business idea and acknowledge it as having sound business sense.


2. Use our FREE business planning program FOCUS Yourself; A 7 Module Business Plan Program . This is not a business plan template, it is a full business plan that is EASY and FAST , making your plan SUSTAINABLE and entirely PRACTICAL . Start your business plan NOW

3. Not sure why you need a small business plan? REGISTER for a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation where you will talk business, your business, with international best-selling author James Burgess

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  • Oct 24, 2020

The Top 5 Benefits of Having a Business Plan

Whether you’re starting a small business or exploring ways to expand an existing business, a Business Plan is an important tool to help guide your decisions. An effective Business Plan is a roadmap to success, providing clarity on all aspects of your business, from marketing and finance, through to operations, products, services, people and how you will be better than your competitors.

functions of a business plan as a management tool

The purpose of a business plan is to help articulate a strategy for starting or changing your business. It defines how you will achieve your most important business objectives. A good Business Plan should help you to sleep at night if you are a business owner.

For existing businesses, a business plan should be updated annually as a way to guide growth and navigate expansion into new markets. Your plan should include explicit objectives for hiring new employees, what structure you will have, what products and services your business will provide, how you will promote them and how you will finance business operations.

If you are considering starting a business, a Business Plan can help you to check the viability of a business before investing too much time or money in it. It also provides insight on steps to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results.

The Benefits of Having a Business Plan:​

1. Increased Clarity

A business plan can bring clarity to the decision-making process regarding key aspects of the business such as capital investments, leases, resourcing, etc. You can't do everything. A good Business Plan will help you identify business critical priorities and milestones to focus on.

2. Creation of a Marketing Roadmap

Marketing is an important aspect of a business plan. It helps to define your target market(s), target customers and how you will promote and place your product / service to these markets / customers.

3. Support for Funding

Whether you’re seeking credit from a bank or capital from investors, a business plan that answers questions about profitability and revenue generation is often required.

4. Helps to Secure Talent

For a business to succeed, attracting talented workers and partners is vital. Part of a business plan’s purpose is to help bring in the right talent, at the right time. Staff want to understand the vision, how the business will achieve its goals, and how they can contribute to this in their own roles.

5. Provides Structure

A business plan provides structure and defines business management objectives. It becomes a reference tool to keep the business on track with sales targets and operational milestones. When used properly and consulted regularly, it can help measure and manage your priority areas of focus.

Download your Business Plan template for $49.99 + GST here.

Many people engage us as business coaches to take a weekly / fortnightly step-by-step approach to the development of their own Business Plans, with the added benefit of our expertise and guidance throughout the process. In this way, you learn the essential aspects of running a successful business, while crafting your very own business plan over 8-12 weeks.

If you would like more information about how to create an effective Business Plan for your business, with our guidance, then please don't hesitate to contact Business Agility. We are business coaches who are former CEOs and MDs. We know what it takes to be successful in business.

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functions of a business plan as a management tool

In this post we cover:

A business plan is used to help manage an organisation by stating ambitions, how they will be achieved, and exactly when. The plan will also help summarise what the business is about, why it exists, and where it will get to.

Your business plan will serve as a key point of reference for investors, partners, employees and management to gauge progress against objectives.

Provide a road map

A detailed plan will help you as the owner and founder to manage your business effectively. Writing down and illustrating both your ideas and tactics will establish a path and course of action, akin to a road map. This will give you something concrete by which to monitor and assess the progress you make.

It may seem like an odd suggestion but you should look to work with your accountant on this task even at an early stage. Why? Well, a quality professional advisor will have helped many early stage businesses. Given how close a good accountant is to the operations and strategic direction of a company, they’ll be able to draw upon their experience of what’s worked and what hasn’t with other clients. 

This means they’ll be well placed to help you test your assumptions. Remember you want your business concept to be as well thought through as possible. Having a fresh set of eyes reviewing your ideas from a different perspective could make all the difference as to the viability of your business model . An accountant will know what success looks like along with what’s required and when to achieve it.

In charting a potential course of action you may find your business is faced with multiple different potential paths. It would therefore be wise to plot the most likely scenarios and strategies for these different circumstances. If, for example, your business is heavily reliant upon exporting then you may need to consider potential global and political events. How would that impact on currencies in your chosen markets in the near future?

What does a 10% currency appreciation or depreciation mean for sales, revenues, profits and cashflow? Working through this with your accountant will ensure you can ascertain the impact of such events from a financial perspective. You’ll then be able to craft solutions accordingly to deal with such events.

Developing a clear plan and strategy will focus your mind. What resources will you need and when to achieve each of your goals? This provides you with clarity as to how much needs to be invested at each stage of the business lifecycle . You'll then know when you're going to need cash injections based on likely cashflow.

Understand what to focus on

As an entrepreneur, where should your efforts and concentrations be centred on? It’s a common issue. The early days of starting out can be very chaotic. There’s so much to set up, think about, implement and develop. It’s an emotional roller coaster of mass excitement and sharp shots of anxiety. Amid all this and with an ever mounting in-tray of to do’s, you can fast lose track of what’s important.

When writing a business plan you’re defining exactly what your organisation is today and then intends to become tomorrow. This coherence concerning the purpose of your business and direction in which you’re heading is invaluable. Doing this means you’ll understand what needs to be implemented to move forward.

As an example, your plan should describe your ideal customer and include their needs and wants. Then you’d expand on this as to how your products or services address their requirements. How are you going to market to these potential customers? How will you get your name out there? What approach will you adopt to make sales and generate revenue?

These are vital matters to address early on. Growth primarily comes through new customers and achieving repeat custom. This then determines your progress towards profitability. By mapping this all out on paper you’re giving yourself yardsticks to work towards. This means all tasks that you as the entrepreneur should focus on should be geared towards achieving your next goal. In a nutshell that’s where your focus should be.

Projections and the need for an accountant

Raise finance.

The likelihood is to support your growth will require an injection of funding. That's unless you have an extremely cash generative business model. More often than not you probably won’t have enough customers and thus free cash flow to finance the next opportunity. You'll have a working capital requirement and thus need investment beyond the reach of your business.

You’ll likely have to approach potential sources of finance and they’ll want to assess the your income statements/profit and loss statements, and business plan. If you’re still at concept stage, or haven’t begun making sales, then their decision will rest solely on the strength of you and your business plan.

The statements help prospective lenders and investors understand the history of the organisation to date. The business plan provides them with a view of your future direction. They’ll look for many things in your plan. Ultimately their interest will focus on whether the expansion or development of your business will generate sufficient cash to both operate effectively while also fulfilling debt obligations.

This means you’re going to need to detail both profit and cashflow projections. Good forecasting and planning is seen as a way of understanding income and expenditure. This is particularly useful as a means to prevent payment issues over things like suppliers and staff wages. Many businesses close when such issues arise.

The likelihood is unless you’ve done this before, and know what you’re doing, then you’re going to need the help of an accountant. They’ll work with you to model the probable amount of cash in the business over time. This will then act as evidence to potential investors and financiers. They'll see if sufficient money will be generated by the activities of the business, to both fund future growth, while meeting financial commitments.

Manage your business effectively

The usefulness of a cashflow forecast doesn’t end there though. Managing your cash position , as you may have already gathered, is fundamental to the long term future of your business. There’s a common quote that “most businesses fail because they run out of money”. This means they’re no longer able to pay their debts when they’re due.

You should reference your cashflow projections in your business plan regularly. When you invest in your business, there will be significant out flows of money before any cash comes in. The timing of your investments thus needs to be considered against your projections and statements. Consider trading patterns, seasonal variations and the likely impact on cash flows.

If, for example, you sell through a credit extension then you’re going to receive payment in the future. That means after the goods or services have changed hands. The likelihood then is you’ll have to make payments in relation to the usual operations of your business before that income comes in from your customer.

So you can then see how poor cash management creates real issues. Make sure you work with your accountant, in the creation of your business plan and monitoring performance in relation to it. The documentation of well thought through ideas, combined with a shrewd strategy, and carefully planned projections will markedly improve your chances of long term survival and growth.

Business plan

This post was created on 03/11/2016 and updated on 24/02/2022.

Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to regular legal and regulatory change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within our website or guides (eBooks) as a definitive guide to the law on the relevant matter being discussed. We suggest your course of action should be to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.

functions of a business plan as a management tool

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The importance of a business plan

Business plans are like road maps: it’s possible to travel without one, but that will only increase the odds of getting lost along the way.

Owners with a business plan see growth 30% faster than those without one, and 71% of the fast-growing companies have business plans . Before we get into the thick of it, let’s define and go over what a business plan actually is.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a 15-20 page document that outlines how you will achieve your business objectives and includes information about your product, marketing strategies, and finances. You should create one when you’re starting a new business and keep updating it as your business grows.

Rather than putting yourself in a position where you may have to stop and ask for directions or even circle back and start over, small business owners often use business plans to help guide them. That’s because they help them see the bigger picture, plan ahead, make important decisions, and improve the overall likelihood of success. ‍

Why is a business plan important?

A well-written business plan is an important tool because it gives entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as their employees, the ability to lay out their goals and track their progress as their business begins to grow. Business planning should be the first thing done when starting a new business. Business plans are also important for attracting investors so they can determine if your business is on the right path and worth putting money into.

Business plans typically include detailed information that can help improve your business’s chances of success, like:

  • A market analysis : gathering information about factors and conditions that affect your industry
  • Competitive analysis : evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  • Customer segmentation : divide your customers into different groups based on specific characteristics to improve your marketing
  • Marketing: using your research to advertise your business
  • Logistics and operations plans : planning and executing the most efficient production process
  • Cash flow projection : being prepared for how much money is going into and out of your business
  • An overall path to long-term growth

10 reasons why you need a business plan

I know what you’re thinking: “Do I really need a business plan? It sounds like a lot of work, plus I heard they’re outdated and I like figuring things out as I go...”.

The answer is: yes, you really do need a business plan! As entrepreneur Kevin J. Donaldson said, “Going into business without a business plan is like going on a mountain trek without a map or GPS support—you’ll eventually get lost and starve! Though it may sound tedious and time-consuming, business plans are critical to starting your business and setting yourself up for success.

To outline the importance of business plans and make the process sound less daunting, here are 10 reasons why you need one for your small business.

1. To help you with critical decisions

The primary importance of a business plan is that they help you make better decisions. Entrepreneurship is often an endless exercise in decision making and crisis management. Sitting down and considering all the ramifications of any given decision is a luxury that small businesses can’t always afford. That’s where a business plan comes in.

Building a business plan allows you to determine the answer to some of the most critical business decisions ahead of time.

Creating a robust business plan is a forcing function—you have to sit down and think about major components of your business before you get started, like your marketing strategy and what products you’ll sell. You answer many tough questions before they arise. And thinking deeply about your core strategies can also help you understand how those decisions will impact your broader strategy.

Send invoices, get paid, track expenses, pay your team, and balance your books with our free financial management software.

2. To iron out the kinks

Putting together a business plan requires entrepreneurs to ask themselves a lot of hard questions and take the time to come up with well-researched and insightful answers. Even if the document itself were to disappear as soon as it’s completed, the practice of writing it helps to articulate your vision in realistic terms and better determine if there are any gaps in your strategy.

3. To avoid the big mistakes

Only about half of small businesses are still around to celebrate their fifth birthday . While there are many reasons why small businesses fail, many of the most common are purposefully addressed in business plans.

According to data from CB Insights , some of the most common reasons businesses fail include:

  • No market need : No one wants what you’re selling.
  • Lack of capital : Cash flow issues or businesses simply run out of money.
  • Inadequate team : This underscores the importance of hiring the right people to help you run your business.
  • Stiff competition : It’s tough to generate a steady profit when you have a lot of competitors in your space.
  • Pricing : Some entrepreneurs price their products or services too high or too low—both scenarios can be a recipe for disaster.

The exercise of creating a business plan can help you avoid these major mistakes. Whether it’s cash flow forecasts or a product-market fit analysis , every piece of a business plan can help spot some of those potentially critical mistakes before they arise. For example, don’t be afraid to scrap an idea you really loved if it turns out there’s no market need. Be honest with yourself!

Get a jumpstart on your business plan by creating your own cash flow projection .

4. To prove the viability of the business

Many businesses are created out of passion, and while passion can be a great motivator, it’s not a great proof point.

Planning out exactly how you’re going to turn that vision into a successful business is perhaps the most important step between concept and reality. Business plans can help you confirm that your grand idea makes sound business sense.

A graphic showing you a “Business Plan Outline.” There are four sections on the left side: Executive Summary at the top, Company Description below it, followed by Market Analysis, and lastly Organization and Management. There was four sections on the right side. At the top: “Service or Product Line.” Below that, “Marketing and Sales.” Below that, “Funding Request.” And lastly: “Financial Projections.” At the very bottom below the left and right columns is a section that says “Appendix.

A critical component of your business plan is the market research section. Market research can offer deep insight into your customers, your competitors, and your chosen industry. Not only can it enlighten entrepreneurs who are starting up a new business, but it can also better inform existing businesses on activities like marketing, advertising, and releasing new products or services.

Want to prove there’s a market gap? Here’s how you can get started with market research.

5. To set better objectives and benchmarks

Without a business plan, objectives often become arbitrary, without much rhyme or reason behind them. Having a business plan can help make those benchmarks more intentional and consequential. They can also help keep you accountable to your long-term vision and strategy, and gain insights into how your strategy is (or isn’t) coming together over time.

6. To communicate objectives and benchmarks

Whether you’re managing a team of 100 or a team of two, you can’t always be there to make every decision yourself. Think of the business plan like a substitute teacher, ready to answer questions any time there’s an absence. Let your staff know that when in doubt, they can always consult the business plan to understand the next steps in the event that they can’t get an answer from you directly.

Sharing your business plan with team members also helps ensure that all members are aligned with what you’re doing, why, and share the same understanding of long-term objectives.

7. To provide a guide for service providers

Small businesses typically employ contractors , freelancers, and other professionals to help them with tasks like accounting , marketing, legal assistance, and as consultants. Having a business plan in place allows you to easily share relevant sections with those you rely on to support the organization, while ensuring everyone is on the same page.

8. To secure financing

Did you know you’re 2.5x more likely to get funded if you have a business plan?If you’re planning on pitching to venture capitalists, borrowing from a bank, or are considering selling your company in the future, you’re likely going to need a business plan. After all, anyone that’s interested in putting money into your company is going to want to know it’s in good hands and that it’s viable in the long run. Business plans are the most effective ways of proving that and are typically a requirement for anyone seeking outside financing.

Learn what you need to get a small business loan.

9. To better understand the broader landscape

No business is an island, and while you might have a strong handle on everything happening under your own roof, it’s equally important to understand the market terrain as well. Writing a business plan can go a long way in helping you better understand your competition and the market you’re operating in more broadly, illuminate consumer trends and preferences, potential disruptions and other insights that aren’t always plainly visible.

10. To reduce risk

Entrepreneurship is a risky business, but that risk becomes significantly more manageable once tested against a well-crafted business plan. Drawing up revenue and expense projections, devising logistics and operational plans, and understanding the market and competitive landscape can all help reduce the risk factor from an inherently precarious way to make a living. Having a business plan allows you to leave less up to chance, make better decisions, and enjoy the clearest possible view of the future of your company.

Understanding the importance of a business plan

Now that you have a solid grasp on the “why” behind business plans, you can confidently move forward with creating your own.

Remember that a business plan will grow and evolve along with your business, so it’s an important part of your whole journey—not just the beginning.

Related Posts

Now that you’ve read up on the purpose of a business plan, check out our guide to help you get started.

functions of a business plan as a management tool

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

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Practical Business Planning

Understanding the components of future success.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

functions of a business plan as a management tool

Business planning is perhaps the most critical element of a successful business. It is also the element that many business owners neglect, or spend too little time on.

Why? Because it's a whole lot of work, and when you're in the throes of starting a new venture, there are probably far more pressing, or glamorous and exciting, things to be doing.

Yes, finding a great space to rent can be important. And yes, figuring out what to charge customers is essential too. But if you don't do those things within the context of the larger picture – the total business plan – you are likely to miss critical details that have the potential to doom your whole venture to failure.

Some people consider writing a business plan a necessary evil in order to get financing from a banker or investor, but this can be missing the point. A business plan is far more than a fancy sales tool; it is a powerful management tool to help you focus on your goals, set objectives and avoid potential pitfalls. The process of writing a business plan forces you to consider all the aspects of starting your venture, or taking it to the next stage; from identifying opportunities, to exploring risks, to putting figures to ideas.

Bottom line, the business plan makes you think, quantitatively and qualitatively, about why, what and how you are to proceed. It helps you think about the highs and the lows, the advantages and the disadvantages, the potential for success and for failure. While you might have a successful business without a business plan, it is far more likely that if you fail to plan, you will also fail to succeed.

Of course, you may find that when you look at your business idea in this detail, it simply doesn't stack up. Disappointing as this might be, it's far better to find this out on paper than suffer the cost and consequences of finding it out in practice.

Business planning is just as important for new projects as it is for new businesses. In this context, the "business plan" is usually called a "business case". The discipline of justifying what you plan to do in terms of what it will achieve, and how you will do it, will contribute greatly to the chances of your project succeeding.

What Will a Business Plan Show?

A Business Plan will help you examine your business concept and intentions for viability and sustainability. Along the way, you will discover invaluable information that you'll use over and over again. Here are ten of the top discoveries you will make as you write your business plan:

  • Exactly what your business will provide.
  • Who your customers are, and how able you are to meet their needs.
  • Who you competitors are, and what are their strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Potential obstacles to your success.
  • The capabilities of your core business team.
  • A well-defined marketing strategy to capture your share of the market.
  • Benchmarks and goals.
  • Financial projections and returns on investment.
  • How much money you need to start up.
  • What your investors will get out of the deal.

What Goes Into a Business Plan?

A good business plan contains dreams and ideas that are backed by facts and figures, and it's usually presented in a fairly standardized format. The following eight items are common sections in a business plan – once you have sufficient detail for each of these elements, you'll have the basis for a comprehensive and complete business plan.

  • Executive Summary.
  • Business Overview.
  • Products and Services.
  • Industry/Market Overview.
  • Marketing Strategy and Implementation Plan.
  • Operational Infrastructure.
  • Management Team Summary.
  • Financial Plan.

Each of these business plan sections is described briefly in the sections below. (Bear in mind that this is an introduction to business planning: you'll find links to more detailed – and country-specific – information at the end of the article.)

Depending on the nature of your business, and your own areas of expertise, you may need to call on other people's help and expertise to build you business plan, for example in marketing or financial planning. We also provide links to additional resources to help your business planning in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

It's the first thing people read, and it's the last thing you prepare. The aim of this section is to sum up your entire plan in such a way that leaves no doubt as to your business's viability and profitability, and your capability to manage it. An executive summary can be as short as a few paragraphs, and as long as two pages. Regardless of length, it must highlight the key points and conclusions from each of the sections that follow in your Business Plan.

2. Business Overview

The purpose of the Business Overview is to provide readers with an overall feel for what it is you are trying to accomplish and give the reader a more detailed look at your vision. The elements you provide details about are:

  • History – what led to your idea and this business concept?
  • Mission Statement – what are you in business to achieve?
  • Goals and Objectives – what are you striving for within the first year, and longer term horizon?
  • Ownership – are you a proprietor, partner, or corporation?
  • Location – what facilities will the business use?

3. Products/Services

Most businesses sell products or provide services. In this section your goal is to define clearly what you are providing to your customers, and how your offering is different or unique. It includes:

  • Products and/or Services – what are you selling and/or providing?
  • Production and/or Service Delivery – how will you acquire or provide those products or services?
  • Competitive Comparison – why will customers buy your products, and not that of someone else (this is really important, and we look at it again below.)
  • Future Products and Services – how do you expect your products/services to evolve and develop over the next year to five years?

4. Industry/Market Overview

This section is a summary of market research that helps determine if your business idea is profitable and sustainable. It defines your industry, discusses trends, outlines the customer/market needs that exist, examines buyer behavior and also looks at the competitive outlook in your market.

To address these points, you will of course need to conduct some market research. This enables you to back up your proposition with evidence. The marketing issues your research should address are:

  • Industry analysis – what's happening and what's changing in you industry? A good way to do this analysis is to use the PEST analysis tool, which looks at Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological factors. Another is to use Porter's Five Forces Analysis , which helps you think about the balance of power in the industry.
  • Market analysis – what are the characteristics of the market you operate in, what customer needs are being fulfillled, and how can this market and these customer needs be sub-divided?
  • Trends and outlook – what shift in consumer behavior may affect your business?
  • Buying behavior – how are purchases made and what influences buying decisions?
  • Industry participants – what are the main characteristics of the key players in your industry? Consider using SWOT Analysis to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats they face.
  • Competitive analysis – How will you offer a sufficiently different product or service to persuade customers to buy from you, and not from these already-established competitors? Consider using USP Analysis to think about your competitive position.

5. Marketing Strategy

The data from your market analysis can now be used to formulate your marketing strategy, and define how you will sell the product, and to whom.

  • Start by using SWOT analysis again, this time focused on yourself. What are the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats facing the venture? This analysis shows you how you can align your strengths with the opportunities available and what contingencies you should prepare to deal with the weaknesses and threats you've identified.
  • Target Market – Who is your ideal customer? What specific need do you fulfilll? And thus what segments of the market will you serve? Is there a specific niche you can exploit?
  • Key Competitors – Who else is vying for you target market?
  • Competitive Position – How will you best communicate the unique reason that people should buy from you? And where should you communicate this message?
  • Pricing Strategy – What price will attract the customers you target? What price will make you the best profit?
  • Promotion Strategy – How will you brand and promote your business? Where will market and sell?

6. Operational Infrastructure

In this section you set out details of the equipment and facilities you will use to create your products and serve your customers. Depending on the nature of your business, these will include all or some of:

  • Premises – offices, workshops and storage facilities.
  • Equipment and machinery.
  • IT resources – Software and hardware, including accounting systems.

You should also include details of major suppliers on which you will rely for outsourced services as well as for key raw materials, and the nature of agreements you would make with them.

7. Management Team Summary

Here you explore your talents and ability to manage the business. This section includes an overview of the main people contributing to the day-to-day management of the business:

  • How does your background/business experience help you in this business?
  • Who will be on the management team? Include an organization chart.
  • What is your management philosophy?
  • What are your and your team's weaknesses and how can you compensate for them?
  • What are their duties? Are these duties clearly defined?
  • Do you have any personnel needs? If so, what is your plan for hiring and training?

8. Financial Plan

Don't let the numbers scare you – you don't need to be an accountant to be in business, but you do need to understand what you are reading and where the numbers came from. You financials will tell you whether or not what you intend to do will eventually be profitable. After all, there's not a lot of point to being in business if you can't make money. Make sure you cover:

  • Start-up Funds – Do you have enough capital to carry you through until you start achieving a positive cash flow?
  • Operating Budget – Where will you spend your money during the first year?
  • Financial Assumptions – What are you basing your projected numbers on?
  • Cash Flow Projection – Based on your educated assumptions, what income and expenses do you project? How long will it take to achieve a positive cash flow and when will you break even? See our article on Cash Flow Forecasting to find out how to do this.

If you feel a little uneasy about financial planning there are many sources of help available. Invest in one of many great books on starting a business, or consider asking for resources and advice from the small business manager at your local bank. Any new business venture needs good financial planning, and good ongoing financial management, so it's worth investing the time to learn these skills now, or getting someone involved with this expertise.

Business planning is an essential activity when thinking about a new business venture or project. By taking the time to discover all of the key facts and figures described in the seven business planning areas above, you'll gain an excellent grasp of how you're going to implement your ideas, and what financial investment, and gains, you can expect. If your business plan does not stack up, you can refocus your efforts now, on paper, and make the difference between business success and failure.

By learning the skills of business planning, you'll be in a great position to monitor and manage your business plan as your venture moves forward. The plan, and everything in, it is a moving feast, and you'll need to keep revisiting and challenging it as you progress. Your business plan is an essential foundation: keep building on it to ensure your business's success.

[1] (2016). ‘Free Sample Business Plans’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[2] (2016). ‘Business Plan Template & Guide’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[3] (2016). ‘Sample Business Plans and Templates’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[4] (n.d.). ‘What Your Business Plan Should Include’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[5] (2016). ‘Write a Business Plan’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[6] (2011). ‘Writing a Business Plan’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[7] (2016). ‘Business Plans and Templates’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[8] (2016). ‘Starting & Managing a Business’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

[9] (2016). ‘Business Planning & Financial Statements Template Gallery’ [online]. (Available here .) [Accessed July 6, 2016.]

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