Many consultants, service providers, and industry experts have their own advice when it comes to business plans. Some opt for flashy presentations that revolve around target markets, and others are more detailed and central to various parts of the company. But one element remains consistent: a business plan should be a dynamic document that not only receives attention from company leadership, but also reflects a strategic plan that can be adapted to forever-evolving business and economic conditions.
Below are some key elements of planning that owners, management, and other key personnel should always take into account (regardless of industry).
Products and Services – List unique features, differentiators, patents, copyrights, lists of suppliers, etc.
Thorough Market Analysis – Think about your market space. List current and prospective targets, existing clientele, feedback surveys, letters of intent, and competing companies or ideas.
Market Strategy – Discuss how you’re planning to sell and market your product. This part of your business plan often includes product pricing plan, business cards, marketing collateral, methods of selling, and credit-and-collection policies. Describe where, when, and how often you plan to touch these markets (and include the cost of sales).
Current and Future Management Plans – Not only is it a best practice to have a plan with a 3 to 6 year vision, but also include tactical planning and actionable items for the next 12 to 24 months. Clearly define relationships with suppliers and distributors and include written plans for human resources, marketing, finance, data management and other essential systems. Licenses/permits, legal structure, insurance coverage, and rental/lease/purchase plans should also be covered.
Financial and Data Planning – Complete a 3-year history of sales records, profits, tax records, bank statements, and other pertinent or relevant financial documents. It’s also advised to prepare projections for payables and receivables, aging reports, cash flow documentations, and comparisons against previous plans.
Want to know more about bringing your idea to the marketplace? Download our Commercialization Matrix. It clearly presents planning and issues owners should have command over and provides 10-step plans for inventing and innovating, protecting intellectual property, manufacturing, and marketing.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
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