Have any of your clients ever asked you whether you had a business plan? And whether you could provide them with that business plan?
What did you say? What did you do?
Having a business plan, and re-visiting it every year, is one of the most important aspects of running your business efficiently and effectively. And I don’t mean the annual strategic planning exercise where everyone sets goals and expectations with wiggle room that either a) are met or b) have to be revised.
I’m talking about a Business Plan.
A business plan lets you know where the money is coming from and where it goes each year, based on prior years’ activity and performance. A business plan helps you quantify what you qualify to your customers day in and day out. It’s the basis for why your doors remain open and why customers should want to work with your company. It’s more than a business plan. It’s a business platform.
You use it for obtaining financing and you use it for being acquired, if that’s your plan. Your Business Plan is your credibility.
For all you engineers, IT professionals and technology folks who bemoan what they didn’t teach you in engineering school, or wonder whether to get an MBA or an MEng or PhD, here’s a clue: understand what it takes to produce a business plan.
Whether you are an inventor, a start-up, a newly funded company with venture capital and state funding or a mature business who wonders why you can’t move to the next level, a lot of your future has to do with how you view the data from the past. And your ability to combine that knowledge into a solid Business Plan.
You can Google the term “business plan” and find templates all over the internet.
So this information is available to you. What usually isn’t available is the expertise on how to craft the business plan effectively and convincingly so that you, your employees and perhaps potential investors understand who you are and where your company is going. In essence, your business plan is a road map for everyone to confidently follow. So get yourself a coach or a consultant to assist you in producing this important document.
The elements of a Business Plan include:
- Business Overview (Executive Summary)
- Marketing opportunities and drivers
- Competitive analysis
- Business Model
- Management Team
- Financials (or the pace of getting things done, including your exit strategy)
If your organization already has a business plan, ask to see it.
Your career development hinges on being able to understand a business plan and potentially write one. You need to understand where you fit into the organization and what makes your organization “tick” within the competitive marketplace. If you understand your company’s business plan, you can determine where your skill sets best fit in as you take the steps to develop your career.
What’s your Career Plan? And how does it fit into your organization’s Business Plan? Think about it.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013-2016. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools and is available on Amazon.