You are on page 1of 7

A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how

you
plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a
plan, or at least the germ of a plan.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities. You want to get to a
there, a point in the future (usually three to five years out) at which time your business will have a different set of
resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to
there.

The primary value of your business plan will be to create a written outline that evaluates all aspects of the economic
viability of your business venture including a description and analysis of your business prospects. We believe that
preparing and maintaining a business plan is important for any business regardless of its size or nature. But it will not
ensure your success. If you maintain a correct assessment of the changing economics of your business, your plan will
provide a useful roadmap as well as a financing tool. But if you have miscalculated the potential, then your business plan
could become a roadmap leading to failure.

Why Prepare A Business Plan?


Your business plan is going to be useful in a number of ways.

First and foremost, it will define and focus your objective using appropriate information and analysis.

You can use it as a selling tool in dealing with important relationships including your lenders, investors and banks.

Your business plan can uncover omissions and/or weaknesses in your planning process.

You can use the plan to solicit opinions and advice from people, including those in your intended field of business,
who will freely give you invaluable advice. Too often, entrepreneurs forge ahead ("My Way!") without the benefit of
input from experts who could save them from potentially disastrous mistakes. "My Way" is a great song, but in
practice can result in unnecessary hardships. To help get started in lining up appointments, you can fill in and use
the following template. We have also provided a larger blank template for you to use at the end of this session.
People to see include your investors, family members, banker, lawyer, attorney, business mentors, trusted
business friends, potential customers, competitors (distant ones), potential landlords, and the U.S. Small Business
Administration.

The Business Plan format is a systematic assessment of all the factors critical to your business purpose and goals. Here
are some suggested topics you can tailor into your plan:
A Vision Statement: This will be a concise outline of your business purpose and goals.
The People: By far, the most important ingredient for your success will be yourself. Focus on how your prior experiences
will be applicable to your new business. Prepare a rsum of yourself and one for each person who will be involved with
you in starting the business. Be factual and avoid hype. This part of your Business Plan will be read very carefully by
those with whom you will be having relationships, including lenders, investors and vendors. Templates for preparing
rsums are available in your library, Kinko's, bookstores and the Internet under " rsums."
Session 2 of our Business Expansion course, Getting your team in place, provides detailed recommendations on
delegating authority, employee motivation, training and other key management tools.
However, you cannot be someone who you are not. If you lack the ability to perform a key function, include this in your
business plan. For example, if you lack the ability to train staff, include an explanation how you will compensate for this
deficiency. You could add a partner to your plan (discussed in Section 4) or plan to hire key people who will provide skills
you don't have. Include biographies of all your intended management.
Your Business Profile: Define and describe your intended business and exactly how you plan to go about it. Try to stay
focused on the specialized market you intend to serve. As a rule, specialists do better than non-specialists.

Economic Assessment: Provide a complete assessment of the economic environment in which your business will
become a part. Explain how your business will be appropriate for the regulatory agencies and demographics with which
you will be dealing. If appropriate, provide demographic studies and traffic flow data normally available from local planning
departments.
Cash Flow Assessment: Include a one-year cash flow that will incorporate your capital requirements (covered in Session
11). Include your assessment of what could go wrong and how you would plan to handle problems.
Marketing Plan and Expansion Plans: Your expansion plan should describe how you plan to test markets and products
before rolling out. Refer to helpful government Web sites such as the Small Business Administration. See "Resources" on
the home page of this Web site.
Damage Control Plan: All businesses will experience episodes of distress. Survival will depend on how well you are
prepared to cope with them. Your damage control plan should anticipate potential threats to your business and how you
plan to overcome them. Here are three examples:

Plan for 35% loss of sales: During economic downturns, your survival will depend on your ability to maintain
liquidity for a period of at least 12 months. Can your Damage Control cash flow plan show how to avoid running
out of cash? Session 11 will explain cash flow control.

Plan for a catastrophic incident: Businesses can be overturned by unforeseen disasters which can be avoided
by maintaining appropriate insurance. You will need the assistance of a qualified business insurance agent.

Plan for product obsolescence: If your business is in a rapidly changing technology area such as Netflix's home
delivered DVDs, you will need to plan now to keep a step ahead of technical changes or advancements.

In addition, a very popular software is Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro (U.P. $99), a user-friendly business plan software
with very wide range of sample plans already included. 10% off for MOBI users on Business Plan Pro here.
For a more advanced template, especially useful if you are looking for partners or investors, we recommend the Ultimate
Business Plan Template (U.P. $97) from Growthink. We have negotiated a special 50% discount for MOBI users.

Ref.Entrepreneur.com

Forbes.com--- 4 principles of marketing strategy in the digital age 04/16/2013


Life for marketers used to be simpler. We had just a few TV channels, some radio stations, a handful of top magazines and
a newspaper or two in each market. Reaching consumers was easy, if you were able craft a compelling message, you could
move product.
Ugh! Now weve got a whole slew of TV channels, millions of web sites and hundreds of thousands of Apps along with an
alphabet soup of DMPs, APIs and SDKs. Marketing was never easy, but technology has made it a whole lot tougher.
What used to be a matter of identifying needs and communicating benefits now requires us to build immersive
experiences that engage consumers. That means we have to seamlessly integrate a whole new range of skills and
capabilities. Its easy to get lost among a sea of buzzwords and false gurus selling snake oil. Here are 4 principles to
guide you:
1. Clarify Business Objectives
Theres so much going on in the marketing arena today, everybody is struggling to keep up. At the same time, every
marketing professional feels pressure to be progressive and actively integrate emerging media into their marketing
program.
However, the mark of a good marketing strategy is not how many gadgets and neologisms are crammed into it, but how
effectively it achieves worthy goals. Therefore, how you define your intent will have a profound impact on whether you
succeed or fail.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency for marketers to try to create a one size fits all approach for a portfolio of brands or,
alternatively, to want to create complicated models to formulate marketing objectives. However, most businesses can be
adequately captured by evaluating just three metrics: awareness, sales and advocacy (i.e. customer referral).
Therefore, it is essential to have a team dedicated to identifying emerging opportunities, meeting with start-ups and
running test-and-learn programs to evaluate their true potential. Of course, most of these will fail, but the few winners
will more than make up for the losers.
Once an emerging opportunity has performed successfully in a pilot program, it can then be scaled up and become
integrated into the normal strategic process as a viable tactic to achieve an awareness, sales or advocacy objective.
3. Decouple Strategy and Innovation
Unfortunately, in many organizations, strategy and innovation are often grouped together because they are both perceived
as things that smart people do. Consequently, when firms approach innovation, they tend to put their best people on it,
those who have shown a knack for getting results.
Thats why, all too often, innovation teams are populated by senior executives. Because innovation is considered crucial to
the future of the enterprise (and also due to the institutional clout of the senior executives) they also tend to have ample
resources at their disposal. They are set up to succeed. Failure, all too often, isnt an option.
However, strategy is fundamentally different from innovation. As noted above, a good strategy is one that achieves
specific objectives. Innovation, however, focuses on creating something completely new and new things, unfortunately,
tend to not work as well as standard solutions (at least at first). The truth is that innovation is a messy business.

Some brands are not widely known, others are have trouble converting awareness to sales and still others need to
encourage consumer advocacy. While every business needs all three, it is important to focus on one primary objective or
your strategy will degrade into a muddled hodgepodge.
2. Use Innovation Teams to Identify, Evaluate and Activate Emerging Opportunities
Marketing executives are busy people. They need to actively monitor the marketplace, identify business opportunities,
collaborate with product people and run promotional campaigns. It is unreasonable to expect them to keep up with the
vast array of emerging technology and tactics, especially since most of it wont pan out anyway.
Therefore, it is essential to have a team dedicated to identifying emerging opportunities, meeting with start-ups and
running test-and-learn programs to evaluate their true potential. Of course, most of these will fail, but the few winners
will more than make up for the losers.
Once an emerging opportunity has performed successfully in a pilot program, it can then be scaled up and become
integrated into the normal strategic process as a viable tactic to achieve an awareness, sales or advocacy objective.

3. Decouple Strategy and Innovation


Unfortunately, in many organizations, strategy and innovation are often grouped together because they are both perceived
as things that smart people do. Consequently, when firms approach innovation, they tend to put their best people on it,
those who have shown a knack for getting results.
Thats why, all too often, innovation teams are populated by senior executives. Because innovation is considered crucial to
the future of the enterprise (and also due to the institutional clout of the senior executives) they also tend to have ample
resources at their disposal. They are set up to succeed. Failure, all too often, isnt an option.
However, strategy is fundamentally different from innovation. As noted above, a good strategy is one that achieves
specific objectives. Innovation, however, focuses on creating something completely new and new things, unfortunately,
tend to not work as well as standard solutions (at least at first). The truth is that innovation is a messy business.
So failure must be an option, which is why technologically focused venture capital firms expect the vast majority of their
investments to fail. However, failure must be done cheaply, so resources (and therefore senior executives) must be kept to
a minimum.
4. Build Open Assets in the Marketplace
The primary focus of marketing promotion used to be to create compelling advertising campaigns that would get the
consumers attention and drive awareness. Once potential customers were aware of the product, direct sales and retail
promotions could then close the deal.
That model is now broken. Today, effective promotional campaigns are less likely to lead to a sale and more likely to
result in an Internet search, where consumers behavior can be tracked and then retargeted by competitors. Simply
building awareness and walking away is more likely to enrich your competition than yourself.
Successful brands are becoming platforms and need to do more than just drive consumers to a purchase, they have to
inspire them to participate. That means marketers have to think less in terms of USPs, and GRPs and more in terms
of APIs and SDKs. Focus groups are giving way to accelerators and creation to co-creation.
In the digital age, brands are no longer mere corporate assets to be leveraged, but communities of belief and purpose.
- Greg
Greg Satell is a US based business consultant. You can find his blog atDigitalTonto.com and follow him on
Twitter @DigitalTonto
Page 2 / 2

Strategic Management - An Introduction


Strategic Management is all about identification and description of the strategies that managers can carry so as to achieve
better performance and a competitive advantage for their organization. An organization is said to have competitive
advantage if its profitability is higher than the average profitability for all companies in its industry.
Strategic management can also be defined as a bundle of decisions and acts which a manager undertakes and which
decides the result of the firms performance. The manager must have a thorough knowledge and analysis of the general
and competitive organizational environment so as to take right decisions. They should conduct a SWOT
Analysis(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), i.e., they should make best possible utilization of strengths,
minimize the organizational weaknesses, make use of arising opportunities from the business environment and shouldnt
ignore the threats. Strategic management is nothing but planning for both predictable as well as unfeasible contingencies.
It is applicable to both small as well as large organizations as even the smallest organization face competition and, by
formulating and implementing appropriate strategies, they can attain sustainable competitive advantage.
It is a way in which strategists set the objectives and proceed about attaining them. It deals with making and implementing
decisions about future direction of an organization. It helps us to identify the direction in which an organization is moving.
Strategic management is a continuous process that evaluates and controls the business and the industries in which an
organization is involved; evaluates its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential

competitors; and then reevaluates strategies on a regular basis to determine how it has been implemented and whether it
was successful or does it needs replacement.
Strategic Management gives a broader perspective to the employees of an organization and they can better
understand how their job fits into the entire organizational plan and how it is co-related to other organizational
members. It is nothing but the art of managing employees in a manner which maximizes the ability of achieving business
objectives. The employees become more trustworthy, more committed and more satisfied as they can co-relate
themselves very well with each organizational task. They can understand the reaction of environmental changes on the
organization and the probable response of the organization with the help of strategic management. Thus the employees
can judge the impact of such changes on their own job and can effectively face the changes. The managers and
employees must do appropriate things in appropriate manner. They need to be both effective as well as efficient.
One of the major role of strategic management is to incorporate various functional areas of the organization completely, as
well as, to ensure these functional areas harmonize and get together well. Another role of strategic management is to
keep a continuous eye on the goals and objectives of the organization.
Following are the important concepts of Strategic Management:
Strategy - Definition and Features

Components of a Strategy Statement

Strategic Management Process

Environmental Scanning

Strategy Formulation

Strategy Implementation

Strategy Formulation vs Implementation

Strategy Evaluation

Strategic Decisions

Business Policy

BCG Matrix

SWOT Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Porters Five Forces Model

Strategic Leadership

Corporate Governance

Business Ethics

Core Competencies