Business plans and marketing strategy Series. (Part 1)
Business plan in every sense of it is arguably ‘strategic’. Everyone involved in planning arguably adopts a ‘strategic’ approach.
Generally, business plans tend first to look externally at a market, before looking inwards, at finance and production process. This means that market needs and aims are the primary driving force behind every business plan. This is also applicable to non-profit organisations like government services & charity organisations whose planning processes may also be described as ‘business planning thought they may not be businesses like we know the term.
So we can confidently say that ‘business planning’ refers to the plan of the overall organization, or to a unit within an organization with responsibility for a trade or profit.
To reach your organisations goal, your ‘business plan’ will have to be driven by your ‘marketing strategy’. Marketing is the function which addresses opportunities, needs, and how to fulfill the business plan.
Writing a business plan for a start-up business (a new business) in most cases is more difficult than that of an existing business. This is because an existing business usually has results (records & accounts) of past activities.
But for a start-up business (a new business), it is starting with a blank sheet of paper.
Before putting pen to paper, there a 3 basic things you need to consider.
- Decide what you are actually trying to achieve and always keep this in mind. You need to share the aims and objectives of your business with whoever is involved in running this business with you as well. This gives everyone a central vision and minimise the distractions and distortions which frequently arise during the planning process.
- Establish a strong ethical philosophy at the outset of your planning. A relatively clear ethical philosophy communicates your values to staff, agents and customers. This helps to creates a consitent foundation for your operations which conventional financials, processes, systems and even people, do not address. Introducing ethical priciples later on in the implementation stages of your business might be a very difficult thing to do. This can impact on relationships and reputation in a massive way if problem arises in relations to trust, corporate responsibility, integrity, honesty et al.
- All organisations (whether private companies, public services, not-for-profit trusts and charities) need to be financially effective in what they do, otherwise they will cease to function. So return on investment or effective use of investment and resources is a crucial part of business plan. For an organisation to survive, it needs to be financial viable. By treating return on investment as a vital requirement of planning we increase the likelihood that our business plans will be viable and therefore sustainable.