Success does not come by accident. As an entrepreneur, the key to a successful enterprise lies in proper business planning. Creating a business plan for your business is the first thing you should do when trying to start a business.
Often times, planning process is ignored in haste start a business. However, many entrepreneurs who failed to realise the value of a well-planned business, does so later on.
On a general note, business planning helps to save you time, money and many unhealthy risk associated with business.
Without further ado, let me quickly take you through the simple but important and practical approach to business planning as an entrepreneur for your business.
STEP 1: Business Goals
Your business can only be said to be successful when it has met the needs of the customers or clients.
Therefore, it’s important you first identify who your customers are. It is always easy to determine the customers of businesses. By asking questions like; “ who will buy my product?”
Once you understand who your customers are, the next step is to find out their needs. The best way to do this is by conducting research on your customers. Take time during the interviews to draw out the requirements that create real benefits. Sometimes, customers will talk about needs that are not relevant and have insignificant benefits. These can be recorded and set as a low priority.
The next step, once you have conducted all the researchers and must have gotten a comprehensive list of needs is to prioritise; then, from the prioritised list, create a set of easily measurable goals. This way, the achievement of the goal will be easy to identify.
Once you have established a clear set of goals, they should be recorded as part of the business planning process. It can be useful also to include the needs and expectations of your customers.
STEP 2: Goals Deliverable
Using the goals you have defined in step 1, create a list of things your business need in order to meet those goals. Specify the WHAT and HOW to meet each goal in the list.
STEP 3: Business Goal Tasks
Create a list of tasks that need to be carried out for each item identified in step 2. For each task, determine the following:
1. The amount of efforts and time required for completing the task, it could be a month, or more.
2. The people who will help carry out the task in order to meet up time and the desired value.
A common problem discovered at this point is when you have an imposed deadline for the list you have created and it does not transcend to reality based on your estimates. This should not dampen your spirit. You can still do the following to accomplish it:
1. Set another deadline for the goal.
2. Employ additional resources for the project; it could be more helping hands.
3. Think of reducing the scope of the goal or cutting of branches without touching the Core of it.
STEP 4: Supporting Plans - Additional plans
In this section, you will learn additional plans you should create as part of the business planning process. These plans can be input directly into the plan.
1. Human Resource Plan
Identify the team or skills that will play a leading role in the business accomplishment. For a team, describe each member's roles and responsibilities in the business. This will make your business planning process easy an executable.
2. Communications Plan
In business planning, create a document showing who is to be informed about the project and how they will receive the information. That’s the common model in which information would be passed to your employees or team. Also, there should be a weekly or monthly status report, describing how each member is carrying out his/her function, milestones achieved and the work they have planned for the next period.
3. Risk Management Plan
Risk management is an important part of business planning growth. Although, it’s often overlooked by entrepreneurs. It is desirable to identify as many risks to your project as possible and be prepared to avert it or how to manage it if something bad happens. Do you have any risk assurance policy? Remember, if you ignore risks, they do not go away until you face it or deal with it.