So, what would your business look like over the next 10 years to give you that? Could you build a plan that would show exactly how your business could do that? It would show what your sales, fixed expenses, material cost, labor cost, and variable expenses would need to be. It should also show you how many customers you would need and would show you what your profit and profit margins would be each year. All it takes is your current business numbers as we listed earlier and you can make a business plan as many years out as you like.
What are the critical steps needed to achieve a successful business plan? This may come as a surprise to my fellow business consultants, but producing a successful business plan is not as difficult as people often think, so long as they follow a logical sequence. Here is my considered view as to the critical steps. 1. Understand what you are planning and why; 2. Define the activities of your organisation; 3. Outline the current position of the business; 4. Review and discuss the external market conditions, undertake and understand a competitive analysis, and define your market positioning; 5. Define your core objectives; 6. Prepare and articulate the strategy to attain and meet the objectives; 7. Identify and review risks and opportunities; 8. Prepare a strategy to deal with risks and exploit opportunities; 9. Refine the strategies into operational plans; 10. Prepare financial forecasts including revenues, costs, cash_flow, capital expenditure and assumptions adopted; 11. Finalise the plan; 12. Get it approved; 13. Use it; 14. Review it regularly and update as appropriate.