What is a business plan? A business plan sets out the method for running a specific activity over a specific future period. Why are business plans needed? Business plans are needed essentially for the four following reasons: 1. A formal, explicit document of the planning process; 2. A request for finances; 3. A framework for approval; 4. A tool for operational business management.
Fundamentals, Cycles & Trends (FC & T's): Your plan, if done in advance and thoroughly, should provide and excellent foundation from which to work. Even the best plan still has to react to outside forces that will influence your best intentions. Identifying certain fundamentals, cycles and trends that may impact your company is a prudent way to being able to develop a contingency "plan B" in the event an outside force rears its head. A series of key FC & T's should be monitored throughout the year so that if required, your plan can react. Certain FC & T's may include wholesale pricing, weather, commodity markets or labor market impacts that are out of your control. In my opinion, developing contingency plans in advance for these outside forces at least gives you a fighting chance to react favorably.