Always have a plan, with your vision, objectives, purpose, market analysis, risks, opportunities, strategies, marketing, financials, schedule and measures. Baldrick always had a cunning plan. We laughed at him but, part of the love for the character was, that everyone is always dreaming. “I have a dream”, said Martin Luther King. And everyone does. Cavemen had to have a plan everyday, or perish. Even if it was just a simple one on where to hunt. So, why should you always have a plan? How would I know? Well, I realised this through repeated experiences of fundraising, product launches, brand creation, new campaigns and running projects for the last last few decades. I will give you an example from an excellent event last week. At Dorset Growth Hub’s excellent SME Competitiveness Event in June 2017, Nick Gregory Investment Growth Specialist (pictured above), chaired our Access To Finance discussion group. Our chief finding in our discussion was: “you should always have a plan”, because whatever form of finance you are looking for, whatever state the business is in, you need to be reviewing, be prepared, for your own good, and for that of employees in order to manage risk and to take opportunities.
Who Wants a see Your Plan?
Just about everybody, wants a plan. By a plan I mean an explanation of your situation and future intentions – more shortly on this. And by “everybody”, this does mean most people. Most importantly you gain personally by clarifying your own thoughts. Let’s make it a bit more interesting, and fun and list potential readers of your plan through the lifetime of a business. Of course nobody’s life if the same. No business is the same. Here are potential interested parties in your story:
- You husband, wife, or partner
- Children, parents and family
- Your wider team, your salesmen, your staff
- Your boss, supervisor, manager, director, the business owner
- Your implementation project teams such as marketers, financers, IT, HR, logistics teams etc. for specific elements of you plans
- Your suppliers
- Your franchisees, or distributors, or retailers – i.e. your distribution chain
- Funders as the business grows (see simplified image above) including
- Family and Friends
- Super Angels
- Venture Capitalist
- Government and European Grants
- Asset and Lease Finance
- Factor, Invoicing discounting Finance
- As revenue grows debt and bank finance
What’s in Your Plan
So, if it’s a good idea to always have a plan, with your vision, objectives, purpose, market analysis, risks, opportunities, strategies, marketing, financials, schedule and measures. What are the essential elements people ask for?
- a one page summary of the plan – an example if found here on Dorset Business Angels website page
- a short video here on what to include in a business plan
- templates for business plans from the GOV.UK website
- tips on how to pitch from Dorset Business Angels
- a marketing plan mind-map from o i solutions
And perhaps most important, it’s about connecting and engaging with people, in order to complete the story. It’s about people in that nothing works if you aren’t motivated, or if you fail to win people over to your idea. You and I need to believe in our work, our projects to be able to enthuse colleagues. Then with your plan, with your vision, objectives, purpose, market analysis, risks, opportunities, strategies, marketing, financials, schedule and measures, the cunning plan can come together.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited