22-Business Planning FAQs

1. What is a business plan?

A business plan definition for many is a document that describes the journey to success; where you are going, how you will get there, how you will know when you are there and the targeted work needed to push you there.    Wikipedia defines a business plan as “a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. We like Peter J. Patsula definition of a business plan “A plan….provides an essential focus – a beacon of light in an ocean full of treachery…your own personal prescription for greatness.”

At FOCUS31 we believe a business plan is IRRELEVANT!

WAIT, don’t turn away just yet.  .

A single business plan is a useless task, if it is not EASY, FAST, SUSTAINABLE and therefore, entirely PRACTICAL for business owners to engage in.  Most importantly it must be implemented, measured against, reviewed/updated and implemented and measured again and again and again.   To do otherwise ensures it will sit on your computer or printed and in your credenza collecting dust accomplishing nothing for your business.  In effect a single business plan is pointless.The GOAL is to create a business system or culture of business planning

Our “prescription for greatness” includes just 6-Steps:

  • Step #1: Vision Statement
  • Step #2: A Mission
  • Step #3: Create a set of up to 9 Objectives or targets that will be accomplished during the year.
  • Step #4: Create a set of up to 9 Strategies
  • Step #5: Create a set of up to 9 Action Plans
  • Step #6: Implement small pieces of work, working ON the business, every week.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

2. What is a Vision Statement?

A Vision Statement is a single paragraph answering the questions; how much, by when, doing what, for whom and in what geographic market place or where.  While these are easy to answer we’ll make it easier by giving you some of the answers or at least the framework for the answer:

    • By When is 3-years not 5…trust us it works better.
    • How Much is the Revenue you want to earn in that 3rd year
    • Doing What is the product or service you will be offering 3-years from now
    • For Whom defines your PERFECT client not now but 3-years from now
    • Geographic market place is; local, regional, provincial/state, national, continental (e.g. North America), global or international and finally intergalactic…hey the day will come let’s start planning for it now.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE.

3. What is a Mission Statement?

A Mission Statement defines why your business exists or why you get out of bed passionate about being ready to serve your customers.  We prefer Mission Statements that are only 4 -8 words like:

    • Collaboration towards practical solutions to business challenges
    • Helping people see better 1-hour at a time
    • Inspire every athlete in the world
    • Relationship-based accelerated action with revolutionary results.
    • Comprehensive packaging solutions, chipboard specialists

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE.

4. What are Objectives?

Objectives are the same as TARGETS.  You can have up to 9 targets that will be accomplished during the year.  Use only a Verb, a Noun and a Date such as Achieve/Revenue/December 31, 2017.  Now add in the amount and create your first Objective like this; Achieve $3,545,000 in Revenue by December 31, 2017.  Done!

Now add another for Profit, # of New Clients, Average Revenue per Sale and # of Sales Meetings/Presentations to name a few to consider.  Larger business will need more complex Objectives but they are just as easy to identify.

For more ideas on setting Objectives call us NOW to book a FREE Business Planning Consultation, your FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation at 905.895.2719, or email events@focus31.com or register right HERE

5. What are Strategies?

Strategies are like the foundation on your home.  If you endeavor to build a 10-story house on a foundation intended for 2,200 Sq Ft the house will blow over in the wind.  For your business think of Strategies as providing a 50,000 Sq Ft foundation and begin building on the first 2,200 Sq Ft allowing the business to grow bigger, broader, without structural failure.

Create a set of up to9 Strategies using the format of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and then the 3 – 4 ways we believe based on current knowledge we can begin to drive towards achieving the BHAG. E.g.

    • Perfect Business Planning; create and sustain the business plan quarterly, measure to the objectives, engage in Action Plan work weekly.

Other current day Strategies might be for; Customer Service, Client Problem Resolution (which would be a subset of the Customer Service Strategy), Technology, Social Media or other Marketing Strategies and Employee Satisfaction to name a few.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE.

6. What are Action Plans?

Action Plans define the the work needed to improve and grow the business.  Actions Plans are how the Business Plan is implemented.

Create a set of up to 9 Action Plans using just a Verb/Project Name/Due Date like, Relaunch Website by November 30, 2017.    Here is one other hint, don’t have more than 3 Action Plans mature in the same 3-month period.  This isn’t a laundry list this is business critical work that enables the business to grow and achieve more.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE.

 

7. How Do I Implement the Business Plan?

Implement small pieces of work, working ON the business every week.  156 weeks of small pieces of work will increase the probability that the 3-year vision is achieved.

Here at FOCUS31 we act as the business owner’s Virtual-CEO holding them accountable to tell us in their dedicated password protect workspace using our Weekly FOCUS Accountability Commitment Reports HOW and WHEN they will do that work.  This ensures RADICAL Accountability to implement the business plan week over week.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE.

8. How long should the business plan take?

Don’t spend more than 10-hours setting up your initial business plan.  Do it on the basis of get it down then get it right this isn’t a task it is a process, 

Remember you didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to add 2 + 2 it took years of parents and teachers until around Grade 1 you understood the answer was 4.  So don’t expect to be a brilliant business planner at first effort nor expect to have all the ideas you need to grow the business.  As you grow more idea on how to grow the business will come to you.  So get it down fast and then over the course of time by reviewing it for 30min monthly and 45min quarterly and never spending more than 90min annually to update your business your skills will improve and the business plan will always be CURRENT and RELEVANT.  Create a culture of business planning in your business and success is virtually assured.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

9. Is Measurement really that important with a business plan?

Yes!  Listen you went to school and got measured, you played sports and got measured and you SURVIVED!  You even send your kids to school and out to play sports where they get measured and they not only SURVIVE but THRIVE!.  So why as business owners do we believe that Measurement “sets me up for FAILURE!”  Nonsense.  Measurement sets you up for SUCCESS because it, an it alone, allows you to ask the 2 most POWERFUL question in business…Why as in why did this happen and what do I do about it or how do I fix it?

MEASURE everything.  Not knowing the outcome of your work doesn’t change that there is an outcome.  It is better to know that outcome and make adjustments if they aren’t what you were hoping for then continue to operate in the dark.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

10. When should I start my business planning?

NOW!  Typically business owners will wait until close to the start of a new year.   Nonsense!  The best time to get radically FOCUSed and radically accountable for your business success is right NOW.  At FOCUS31 we work with our clients on each of our 6-Steps for successful business planning adapting them to the start date.  Remember the sooner you start, the sooner you will begin to DOUBLE and TRIPLE your Revenues.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the 14 FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

11. Why do I need a business plan?

You don’t if you want to keep operating in the dark, having no idea where you want to get to and how you will achieve your greatness.  Keep working in the dark and watch your planned competitors shoot right by you.  Or stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different, better, outcome (you’ll recognize that as the definition of insanity) and instead initiate and sustain a business planning system within your business that requires an investment of just an initial 10-hours or…LESS!.  At FOCUS31 we also don’t want you to create a business plan as a single one-time task.  As we alluded to earlier, a single business plan is pointless.  You want, you need, a culture of sustainable business planning that is the KEY to SUCCESS!

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

12. What are the different types of business plans?

The better question is what are the different purposes of a business plan?  Typically there are:

  • Start-up business plans
  • Growth business plans
  • Maturing business plans
  • Operational business plans
  • Department or internal business plans
  • Strategic business plans
  • Feasibility plans

For the most part FOCUS31’s 6-Step business plan process can be used for all of these.  However, plans referred to as Strategic or Feasibility may require a significant proportion of research and evaluation.  Some of these plans may require a variety of cash flow assessments as well.  In the FOCUS31 6-Step business plan process we create the needed cash flows assessments as an Action Plan and attach them as an Appendix to the base plan document.  A “Marketing Plan” is treated in the same fashion.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

13. Should I hire someone to write my business plan?

NEVER!  You MUST participate in the business plan process.  If someone writes it for you it will be their perspective on what the business needs to do not yours and as a result it will never feel real to you and you will never engage in it. PLUS…because the plan writer wants to make as much money off of you as possible ($5,000 – $25,000) the plan will be BIG.  We recommend a collaborative business plan process that leverages your knowledge of where you want to take the business with the professional support of a business planning specialist like FOCUS31.  That will create a roadmap to success that you are passionate about fulfilling.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

14. I want to get a bank loan for my business what kind of business plan do I need?

At FOCUS31 we have an 80% success rate with bank loans using our system.  Our success is founded on 2 key drivers; we know what the banks want to know from you as a business owner and we can assess your business loan request as the bank will.  Should you invest in building a business plan to support your loan request and that loan should happen to be declined the GOOD news is with our planning process you will still have a brilliant business plan to move passionately forward against instead of a 50-page document that sits in the credenza collecting dust leaving you uninspired to continue.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

15. Do you have a business plan template?

Yes the business plan template is as we describe above in Q1 with the 6-Step process of having Vision and Mission Statements, a set of measurable Objectives and Strategies to build towards plus a set of Action Plans that define the heavy lifting work that needs to be done.

Our clients work with us to build their business plans in their dedicated, password protected, business planning site that includes their Marketing Plans as well.  The system we use is so powerful we can build out workspaces for any major project like; relaunching a web site, social media activities, employee performance reviews, and system workflows to name a few.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the  FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

16. What do I include in my business plan?

What are the components of a business plan?

As describe in Q1 – Q7.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

17. Is a Marketing Plan part of a business plan or is it a separate plan

A Marketing Plan is a subset of a Business Plan.  At FOCUS31 we typically reference it within the Action Plans and if the plan is being presented to a 3rd party it is attached as an Appendix document as would cash flow scenarios.  In our FOCUS Accountability System we give you a dedicated project workspace where we build your business plan AND your marketing plan together with you where you can access both plans anytime.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

18. Can I see a sample business plan?

Certainly!  Register for a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation HERE and we’ll be delighted to share a variety of REAL business plans with you.

19. I’ve heard that a business plan should be 10 – 50 pages long....really?

No!  A one page plan is all you need to lead your business to its greatness.  Our 6-Step approach ensures that it will be a single page or at most 2-pages.  Check out our blogs at www.focus31.com/blog for a variety of blog articles that discuss BIG BUSINESS PLANS and how bad they are.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

20. Can’t I just use a fill in the blank kind of business plan template?

I doubt it.  Listen this is a business critical document/activity.  This isn’t a Grade 6 Social Studies test.  This is your business future, your success, your brilliance.  Do you really think you should trust it to a fill in the blank document in the hopes that the business plan template was created with your UNIQUE business circumstances in mind and is prompting you to ask yourself the right questions?

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

21. How do I use a business plan?

You use it as singularly the most important, business critical, system in your business.   Have it front and center every single week guiding you on the important decisions you need to make, important work that needs to be done, keeping you aligned to the Vision you have for the business.  Remember it isn’t a task it is a process, a process of creating a sustainable culture of business planning within your business whether you be a solepreneur or a leader of department heads or even a department head yourself.  Lead your company with such a culture to its brilliance.

Have more questions?  Check the rest of the FAQs or register now for a FREE Business Planning Consultation, a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation, HERE

22. What will be the advantages if I have a business plan?

As Patsula says, our business plan is a beacon of light in an ocean full of treachery.  Listen, and this is important, a business plan is just a document.  Just like the flight plan of a pilot to fly from New York to Sydney.  It tells them, how to get to the destination.  You still need the pilot to take off, fly the plane, check the plan regularly against the instruments (measurements) and land it brilliantly to get the plane there.  The pilot has to take ACTION to IMPLEMENT the flight plan.  As the business owner your business plan is only as good as you implement it and keep it current with regular reviews.  It is only as good as you source new ideas and measure against the results and change course when needed to find smoother currents.  It requires that you take ACTION.  As we say at FOCUS31 a successful business requires a brilliant business plan and an owner who is a BUSINESS WARRIOR!

WHAT’s The NEXT STEP?

  1. You can find out more about what a business plan is and its importance with the international best-selling book CHAOS; How Business Leaders Can Master the Power of Focus. Get your FREE copy HERE
  2. Use our FREE business planning program FOCUS Yourself; A 7 Module Business Plan Program. This is not a business plan template, it is a full business plan that is EASY and FAST, making your plan SUSTAINABLE and entirely PRACTICAL. Start your business plan NOW
  3. Not sure why you need a small business plan? REGISTER for a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation where you will talk business, your business, with international best-selling author James Burgess
  4. for a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation where you will talk business, your business, with international best-selling author James Burgess

Challenge yourself to FOCUS Your Business In Just 30-Days and learn how to build a business that will THRIVE not just survive with our FREE webinar HERE.

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