Advanced Business Planning
Business Consulting

Business Plans

Many business managers and owners understandably confuse a Business Plan (also called a “Management Plan”) with a Strategic Plan. The two are actually interconnected, yet there are several basic differences.

A Strategic Plan includes the organization’s long term vision
and describes in general terms the activities necessary to achieve the vision and goals for the next 5 years.

A Business Plan focuses primarily on the specific activities, to be performed during the current year, necessary to achieve the current 1-year goals. In short, a Business Plan defines the 1-year goals and activities of the multi-year Strategic Plan.

The most common reason why employees don’t do what they’re supposed to do is because they don’t know exactly what it is they’re supposed to do. The 1-year Business Plan section of a 5-year Strategic Plan provides guidance on what employees (including managers and owners) need to be doing, such that their activities for the year ahead are aligned with the organization’s annual and strategic goals.

Furthermore, simply by engaging in the business planning process, business managers and owners can determine whether immediate activities are aligned with their 1-year and 5-year (strategic) goals, whether the Strategic Plan needs to be updated, whether the business environment has changed, or whether goals are actually being met.

Although this Business Plan template is designed for an existing business, Advanced Business Planning has the experience and expertise to develop Business Plans for start-up businesses and for securing bank loans.

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The specific sections of a Business Plan will vary depending on the type of business, but a typical plan for an existing business will include sections similar to the following:

Executive Summary
  •     a summary of each section listed in the Business Plan
Business Description and Vision
  •     the business purpose, or “Mission”
  •     what the business aspires to achieve, or “Vision”
  •     the business’s long term goals and objectives
Market Definition
  •     the economic outlook for the business sector
  •     the needs of current and potential customers
  •     the target market(s) and customer profile(s)
  •     a description of current and potential competitors
  •     the business’s strategic advantage relative to competition
Description of Products and Services
  •     a description of all products and services
  •     the competitive advantages of the products and services
  •     the customer perceptions of products and services
  •     the business‘s location, facilities and logistical issues
  •     legal structure (sole proprietorship, corporation, etc.)
  •     a organizational chart
  •     “bios” of employees whose expertise is critical to success
  •     the flow of operations, e.g., customer contact to delivery
Management and HR
  •     a description of how employees are hired and trained
  •     job descriptions, compensation, and career pathways
  •     how employee performance is measured and assessed
  •     a description of consequences for good/poor performance
Marketing and Sales Strategy
  •     a comparison of customer perceptions of product/services
  •     product/service (or business) positioning and messaging
  •     channels of distribution and product placement
  •     a description of the promotional strategy, including pricing
  •     current and potential impediments to revenue growth
  •     a description of the actual sales transactions
Financial Management
  •     a current and projected balance sheet
  •     a current and projected income statement
  •     a current and projected cash flow statement
Key Operational Objectives & Performance Indicators
  •     key financial goals (sales, costs, profits, ROI, etc.)
  •     key marketing goals (market share, # of customers, etc.)
  •     key operational goals (inventory turnover, returns, etc.)
  •     key management goals (employee retention, ratings, etc.)
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