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.
Article submitted by Bank of America For mid-market companies, business success and responsible growth aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, prioritizing responsible growth is becoming increasingly important, and successful companies are making sustainability central to their growth strategies. Beyond good corporate citizenship, they are recognizing the intrinsic link between the strength of their business and that of the communities and economies in which they operate. Leading your growth with those goals in mind builds resilience and better solutions for the future. Consider the following: Responsible growth companies perform better. Companies that consider the impact of risks and opportunities on the environment, local communities and society may produce better financial results than those that don’t. Additionally, 90% of companies believe a sustainability plan is important for remaining competitive. Responsible growth companies attract investment. A 2016 study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,000 executives and managers from more than 100 countries. Findings revealed that 75% of senior executives in investment firms agree that a company’s sustainability performance is materially important to their investment decisions, and nearly half would not invest in a company with a poor sustainability record. Ninety percent of executives see sustainability as important, but only
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
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