A business plan is a road map which guides a promoter of a business idea in moving from the current state of the business to the desired future state. The determination or desire to move to a future is a result of the future state offering better returns than the current state.
Who owns the business plan?
A business plan is the property of the promoters of a business idea. The plan should be prepared by the promoters with or without the facilitation of external business plan experts in order to enhance the chances of successful implementation.
The current state
The first step in designing and implementing a business, the promoters must establish exactly where they are (the current state) in order to obtain adequate information for designing the business plan. The process of establishing the current state will involve the following among others;
- Sector review to establish sector issues which will impact the business plan
- Supply and demand analysis to establish supply and demand gaps which can be exploited
- Competitor analysis to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the competition
- Customer analysis to establish the needs and the products and services which can be supplied to meet customer needs
- Strength, Weaknesses , Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis
- Political, Economic, Social, Technology and environment analysis
With the above information, the promoters of the business idea will be in position to design and implement a business plan which will guide the movement from the current state to the desired future state.
The designing of the business plan
The business plan must be simple and reliable enough to guide the promoters to the desired future state. A well designed business plan should have the following key qualities;
- The plan should be flexible enough to change it in case of changes in the assumptions on which it is based;
- The plan must be realistic given the current resources and constraints ;
- It must be focused on the desired future state (mission) if it has to guide management to the mission;
- The plan must contain an implementation plan to avoid remaining on the drawing board;
- The business plan should be prepared using a participative approach which allows the involvement of staff and other key stakeholders;
- The business plan should fix responsibility for implementation
- It must provide for regular review in order to keep it alive.
The implementation plan should specify the timing and responsibility for the implementation of various activities in the business plan. The various activities may include recruitment of board members and staff, training of staff, development of policies and procedures, procurement of the various resources, testing the products and services and testing the marketing plan among other things. The implementation plan should also give guidance on how the various challenges will be overcome. The implementation plan is very important because many businesses fail to take off due to lack of proper guidance on implementation of the business plan.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited