Having a written business plan for your business is absolutely essential. Consider a business plan a guide to running your business. It should articulate your business purpose and your mission. Who are your customers? What is your value proposition? How will you grow your business? How much realistically can it grow? Will it remain profitable? And what resources will you need to make it all happen? These are some of the myriad of questions that need to be answered in a thoughtful, cogent manner.
The very discipline of writing out the plan forces you to think through all the issues that are involved in managing your business and to succinctly articulate why your business matters. It forces you to put a stake in the ground and make some hard decisions. Putting your plan in writing will solidify your commitment to the plan. And it will be easier to clearly and effectively communicate your plan to internal and external audiences without any misinterpretation. Need another reason? Historically, businesses that have a written business plan have a higher success rate.
What to think about
- Who does your business serve? Who are your target customers? Who are the critical business relationships? (carriers, vendors, advisers, centers of influence, etc.)
- What products and services does your business sell? What will your firm sell in the future?
- What is your value proposition? What is your competitive advantage? What strategies will you employ to grow your practice, improve profitability?
- What role will technology play?
- Where will a prospect be likely to hear about your business? Where will your future clients come from?
- Where will your future management talent come from? How will you recruit the talent that you need?
- ·How will you know when success is achieved?
Ultimately, a plan will begin to come together, including the financial resources and human capital that will be required to achieve your objectives. Consider these topics for your table of contents:
- Executive summary
- Client value proposition
- Target markets
- Products and services to be offered
- Capabilities required
- Marketing strategy and positioning
- Growth strategies
- Competitive advantages
- Sales and distribution
- Client and customer interaction
- Enabling technologies
- Operational support
- Organization structure
- Human capital recruitment and development
- Summary of key business relationships (carriers, vendors, service providers, etc.)
- Corporate structure
- Capital structure
- Succession planning
- Financial goals and projections
The document you will be creating can be used with your own management team to run your business. You will want to periodically update it so that it remains current and reflective of how you are conducting business at a point in time.
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