What is Business Plan? Importance, Setting Goals & Objective, Process, Format, Fails

  • Post last modified:14 March 2024
  • Reading time:27 mins read
  • Post category:Entrepreneurship
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What is Business Plan?

A business plan is an operating document that describes the dream of an entrepreneur with the objectives and plans to achieve them. A business plan shows the viability of the business idea from every aspect. A business plan is a crucial document that is utilized by both the company’s external and internal audiences.

A business plan seeks investment and it is reviewed and revised regularly to see whether goals are accomplished. A fresh business plan is sometimes written for an existing company that has opted to take a different path.

Importance of Business Plan

Let us discuss the importance of a business plan.

  • It explains the vision and goals of the founder.

  • It acts as a guide for the new entrepreneur.

  • It serves as a blueprint for a company’s overall operation. Sales, expenditures, periods, and strategic direction can all be used to gauge a company’s success and progress.

  • It may also assist an entrepreneur or management in identifying and focusing on possible areas both inside and outside the organization. Proposed remedies and contingency plans can be integrated into the company’s strategy once potentially difficult areas have been identified.

  • It covers the marketing opportunities and future funding requirements, which demand managerial attention.

  • In certain cases when an entrepreneur decides to transform a cherished pastime into a home-based business, the business plan can be as short as a one- or two-page document. A company’s proposal with substantial intricacy and financial ramifications, on the other hand, should have a far more detailed plan.

Setting Goals and Objectives

Business objectives are an important component of creating priorities and positioning an organization for long-term success. Setting company goals and developing separate targets to assist in achieving each goal will considerably improve the capacity to attain those goals. Here, we look at how to define company goals, the distinction between business goals and objectives, and examples of short- and long-term business goals.

Business objectives may be defined for a whole organization as well as specific departments, employees, managers, and clients. Goals are usually used to symbolize a company’s wider purpose and provide an end goal for personnel to work toward. Business objectives may not need to be precise or have well-defined activities. Business objectives, on the other hand, are broad results that a company aims to attain.

Business objectives are measures taken to achieve a company’s larger goals that are clearly stated and quantifiable. Objectives are particular and they are simple to establish and track. To fulfill their business objectives, companies must set objectives.

Business Goals Vs. Business Objectives

The distinction between business goals and business objectives is as follows:

  • Business objectives establish the “how” of a company’s purpose, whereas business goals define the “what.”

  • Business objectives specify concrete tasks, whereas business goals often merely give a broad direction for a firm to pursue.

  • Business objectives are usually measurable, whereas business goals are not.

  • Business objectives are more detailed, whereas business goals are more wide and inclusive.

  • Business objectives are usually time-bound, whereas business goals are not.

How to Set Short-term Business Goals?

Short-term business objectives are those that you wish to attain in the next few weeks or months for a firm. When it comes to short-term business goals, you may take the following steps:

  • Recognize the Short-term Business Goals of the Company for A Set period: In this step, short-term objectives of the company are established so that the set objective can be accomplished in a specific time frame.

    Many short-term goals are secondary to the fulfillment of long-term objectives. Consider your long-term objectives as well as what you want to achieve in the coming weeks or months and turn them into short-term objectives that will help your company grow.

  • Break Goals Into Actionable Business Objectives: Here, management breaks the goals into specific targets. These goals should be represented by the measures an organization will take to achieve them.

    For example, the target for Kalyani is to convert 5 leads and get 5 new customers for the business within the next 2 months, objectives will be the job or work done for getting 5 customers’ such as placing a new advertisement in the newspaper, social media and posting three times a week on YouTube and Instagram.

  • Objectives Should Be Measurable: The established business goals should be quantifiable or measurable. For example, if an employee has the short-term goal of posting an advertisement or banner on social media then, do not assign responsibility to him/her by just saying “post more and more on social media”.

    Instead, give him/her a per-day target to make it quantifiable or measurable. For example “Post on Instagram three times a week and Facebook two times a week for eight weeks,”.

  • Goal-related Tasks Must Be Assigned to Employees: Once the objectives for each short-term goal have been determined, assign each one to an individual or team of employees who will see it through to completion.

  • Check and Keep a Record of Performance regularly: Measure your short-term goals’ progress regularly to verify you are on pace to fulfill them within the timeframe you set.

    Measure any additional customer/potential customer contact you receive as a result of increasing your social media postings to three times a week as part of a business objective. Keep track of progress and, if necessary, change your targets to better fulfill your objectives.

Process of Writing the Business Plan

Every company should have a strategic plan, but you might be surprised by the number of companies that try to function without one (or at least one that is well expressed). According to Strategy research, 86 percent of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, while 95 percent of the average worker has no idea what their company’s strategy is. Because so many firms fail in these areas, strategic planning can help you get ahead of the game.

The strategic planning process is more comprehensive; it aids in the creation of a roadmap for which strategic objectives you should focus on and which projects will be less beneficial to the company. The phases of the strategic planning process are listed below.

Strategic Planning Process

Determine Your Strategic Position

This phase of preparation sets the tone for the rest of the project. To figure out where you need to go and how you will get there, you must first figure out where you are. Include the appropriate stakeholders from the start, taking into account both the internal and the external sources.

Identify significant strategic concerns by speaking with corporate management, gathering consumer feedback, and gathering industry and market data to acquire a comprehensive picture of your position in the market and the thoughts of your customers.

It is better to write a good idea, purpose, and vision statement for the company to get a clear picture of what success looks like. Additionally, you should analyze your firm’s basic principles to remind yourself of how your organization will achieve these goals.

To begin, identify the challenges that need to be solved using industry and market data, including consumer insights and current/future requests. Create a list of your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external possibilities (ways your company may develop to meet requirements that the market doesn’t currently meet) and threats (your competition).

Use a SWOT diagram as a foundation for your initial analysis. You may easily classify your results as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats or SWOT to define your present position with input from executives, customers, and external market data.

Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, and Technological or PEST is a strategic technique for identifying dangers and possibilities for your company.

Prioritise Objectives

After you have determined your present market position, you will need to set targets to assist you reach your objectives. Your goals should be in sync with the mission and vision of your firm.

Ask important questions to help you prioritize your goals, such as:

  • Which of these measures will have the biggest impact on attaining our company’s mission/vision and strengthening our market position?

  • What are the most critical sorts of effects (e.g., client acquisition vs. revenue)?

  • What will the competition’s response be?

  • Which projects are the most critical?

  • What will we have to do to achieve our objectives?

  • How will we track our progress and see if we have met our objectives?

To assist you in achieving your long-term strategic goals and activities stated in step one, objectives should be unique and quantifiable. Updated website content, improved email open rates and new leads in the pipeline are all possible goals.

SMART goals may help you set a schedule and identify the resources you will need to reach your objectives, as well as track your progress with key performance indicators or KPIs.

Develop a Plan

Now is the time to develop a strategic strategy for achieving your objectives. This phase entails deciding the techniques required to achieve your goals, as well as establishing a timeframe and communicating responsibilities.

Strategy maps, which work from the top down, make it straightforward to see company processes and find areas for development.

True strategic decisions generally entail a cost-of-opportunity trade-off. For example, your organization could opt to spend less money on customer service to put more money into producing an intuitive user experience. Prepare to say “no” to efforts that will not improve your long-term strategic position, based on your values, mission statement, and defined priorities.

Execute and Manage the Plan

You are now ready to put your strategy into action. To begin, share necessary material with the organization to convey the plan. After that, the real job begins. By mapping your processes, you can turn your overall strategy into a tangible plan.

To communicate team roles, use KPI dashboards. The completion process and ownership for each stage of the journey are depicted in this detailed method. Establish frequent evaluations with individual contributors and their supervisors, as well as check-in points, to ensure you stay on track.

Review and Revise the Plan

The plan’s last step, review, and revision, allows you to examine your goals and make course corrections based on past successes and failures. Determine the KPIs your team has met and how you can continue to fulfill them every quarter, changing your plan as needed.

It is critical to assess your goals and strategic position every year to ensure that you stay on course for long-term success. Balanced scorecards can help you keep track of your progress and achieve strategic goals by giving you a complete picture of your company’s performance.

Your goal and vision may need to evolve; an annual assessment is an excellent time to examine such changes, draft a new strategy, and re-implement it.

Typical Business Plan Format and Content

Here is a simple template that any company may use to create a business plan:

Section 1: Executive Summary

  • Give an overview of the company’s mission.

  • Describe the product and/or service offerings of the firm.

  • Give a brief overview of the target market’s demographics.

  • Explain how the firm will gain a piece of the available market by summarising the industry competition.

  • Provide an overview of the operations strategy, including inventory, office and labor requirements, and equipment needs.

Section 2: Industry Overview

  • Describe the company’s industry position.

  • Describe the industry’s current competitiveness and significant players.

  • Provide details on the industry in which the company will operate, projected revenues, industry trends, government influences, and the demographics of the target market.

Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition

  • Define your target market, their requirements, and their location.

  • Describe the market’s size, the number of units of the company’s products that potential consumers might buy, and any market changes that might occur as a result of broader economic developments.

  • Give a summary of the projected sales volume in comparison to what your rivals sell.

  • Give an outline of how the firm intends to compete with current competitors to achieve and maintain market share.

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

  • Describe the company’s items for sale as well as its unique selling proposition.

  • List the many advertising outlets that the company will utilize to communicate with clients.

  • Describe how the company intends to price its items so that it can earn a profit.

  • Give specifics on how the company’s items will be delivered and shipped to the target market.

Section 5: Management Plan

  • Describe the company’s organizational structure.

  • Make a list of the company’s owners and their ownership percentages.

  • Make a list of the top executives, their responsibilities, and their pay.

  • List any internal and external professionals the organization intends to recruit, as well as their salaries.

  • If available, include a list of the advisory board members.

Section 6: Operating Plan

  • Describe the business’s location, including the need for an office and a warehouse.

  • Describe the company’s workforce requirements. Outline the number of employees the firm need, their jobs, the skills training that will be required, and the length of time that each person will be with the organization (full-time or part-time).

  • Describe the manufacturing process and how long one unit of a product will take to make.

  • Describe equipment and machinery requirements, as well as whether the firm will lease or buy the equipment and machinery, as well as the estimated expenses.

  • Provide a list of raw material needs, as well as how they will be procured and the primary vendors that will provide the necessary inputs.

Section 7: Financial Plan

  • Include the projected income statement, projected cash flow statement, and projected balance sheet projection in your description of the company’s financial predictions.

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

  • Lease quotes for buildings and machinery

  • Plan for offices and warehouses that has been proposed

  • An overview of the target market and market research

  • The owners’ credit information

  • Product and/or service list

Understand Why Business Plans Fail

The saddest aspect of a failing firm is that the owner is frequently completely oblivious to what is going on until it is too late. It makes sense because if the entrepreneur had truly understood what he/she was doing incorrectly, he/she may have been able to rescue the company.

The following is a list of some of the most common causes:

Lack of planning

Businesses fail due to a lack of both short- and long-term planning. The business strategy should address where a company will be in the coming months and years. Quantifiable objectives and outcomes and specific to-do lists with dates and deadlines will be included in the correct plan. Your business will suffer if you do not plan.

Leadership failure

Businesses collapse as a result of poor leadership. Leadership must be capable of making correct judgments the majority of the time. Leadership failures will affect all parts of your firm, from financial management to staff management. To develop their leadership qualities, the most successful entrepreneurs learn, research, and seek out mentors.

No differentiation

Having a fantastic product is not enough. You must also create a distinct value offer; otherwise, you will become lost in the crowd. What distinguishes your company from the competition? What distinguishes your company? Understanding what your rivals do better than you is critical. You won’t be able to develop a brand if you do not separate yourself.

Ignoring customer needs

Every company will tell you that a customer is number one, but only a small fraction of them do so. Failure causes businesses to lose contact with their customers. Keep an eye on your clients’ changing values. Check to see if they still enjoy your products. Are they looking for new features? Therefore, what exactly are they saying? Are you paying attention?

Inability to learn from failure

While we all know that failure is typically a terrible thing, businesses seldom learn from it. Realistically, businesses fail for a variety of reasons. Entrepreneurs are frequently blind to their errors. It is tough to learn from mistakes.

Poor management

Inability to listen, micro-managing – often known as a lack of trust – operating without standards or processes, poor communication, and a lack of feedback are all examples of poor management.

Lack of capital

This might prevent you from attracting investors. A lack of capital is a red flag. It indicates that a company may be unable to pay its payments, loans, and other financial obligations. Lack of finance makes it harder to expand the firm and puts day-to-day operations in jeopardy.

Premature scaling

Scaling is beneficial if done at the appropriate time. To put it another way, if you grow your firm too quickly, it will fail. You may, for example, be recruiting too many staff too rapidly or overspending on marketing. Do not expand your company unless you are ready.

Pets.com collapsed because it attempted to expand too quickly. They opened too many warehouses across the country too soon and it bankrupted them. Even their strong brand equity wasn’t enough to save them. Their stock dropped from $11 to $0.19 in a matter of months.

Poor location

Inconvenient location is a disadvantage that may be difficult to overcome. If your business relies on foot traffic, choosing the right location is crucial. Your client acquisition expenses may be excessively high due to a bad location.

Lack of profit

Revenue is not the same as profit. As an entrepreneur, you must always keep profitability in mind. Profit permits expansion. Only 40% of small firms are successful, 30% are breaking even and 30% are losing money, according to Small Business Trends.

Article Source
  • Pednekar, A. (2010). Entrepreneurship management. Himalaya Pub. House.

  • Stutely, R. (2012). The definitive business plan. Pearson.

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