Getting Started With Business Planning
Step #1: Organize
Business planning for the small and mid-size business can be sophisticated without being overly complex. The key is to begin in an organized fashion.
Developing a business plan can be daunting, however, especially if you've never done one before. Consider this: when you Google the keyword phrase "business plan" you will see 187,000,000 results. So, where do you start?
A business plan is a device to help you manage your business. It's a management tool. So let's begin by first managing the process.
This is where frameworks are helpful, and I suggest you begin with the 4 Cornerstones of Business Planning to put a boundary on what you will consider in your business plan.
Each business has its own unique story. But one thing that all small business owners have in common is the need to wrap their hands around the total enterprise: where it is, where it’s going, and how to get there. One effective way to accomplish this is to think of the four cornerstones of a small business:
- Management Process
- Assets & Resources
refers to having the right person in the right place. This cornerstone includes a consideration of leadership development, staff training, and all the skills involved in interviewing and evaluation.Management Process
refers to effective decision-making and taking action. Included in this cornerstone are business strategy and creating a motivating environment.Assets & Resources
, beyond plant and equipment, includes such intangibles as corporate competencies, brand image, and databases.Money
, from the standpoint of general business consulting, refers to how it is allocated and the return calculated in such areas as media, presentation materials, web development, content generation, as well as salaries.
Though simple, this four cornerstone approach is far from simplistic, and provides a user-friendly framework to begin to strategically manage the small business.
Mission: To help small and mid-size businesses sell more by re-thinking their business and marketing strategies.