The "Accidental Entrepreneur" Plan: Believe it or not, it happens quite often. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion turns into a business without warning. One day you're handing your extra back_yard tomatoes or homemade cake to the neighbors, and before you know it you're filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer's market. Perhaps you create a unique bit of hand_crafted jewelry and wear it to school or work, and then find your phone flooded with messages like, "Where can I get one?" and "I'll pay you to make one for me."
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.