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Business Plan

Template

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www.AustralianBusinessCoachingClub.com.au
Business Plan Template
Introduction

It is our strongly held belief that all businesses should have a Business Plan. So the
purpose of this template is to provide business owners with a low cost, easy to use and
understand format that they will be able to implement themselves. However, the key to
the success of any business plan is to make sure that it becomes part of your business
management system.

There are many benefits for having a business plan, which include:

• Test different scenarios for your business


• Test the robustness of your assumptions
• Manage external risk
• Determine the risks for different courses of action
• Develop mitigation plans for the largest risks
• Develop step-by-step plans for growth or other changes
• Determine resource requirements (human, physical, financial) for
different scenarios and at different times
• Synchronise short and long term plans- your budget is the first year of the plan
• Define milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) so you can measure
your progress towards your long term objective in the same way you measure
your progress to budget.
• Synchronise all other plans in your business- so that there is full alignment of
your marketing, operating, staffing and financial plans (amongst others) even
when circumstances change.
• Roll out of KPI’s into every part of your business, and allow you to develop
incentive plans truly aligned with your goals.

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A business plan that achieves all these objectives can be quite complex, but with this
template you will achieve most of these benefits for a fraction of the time and cost
involved in producing a plan that does everything! However, if you are making a
substantial business investment, obtaining additional advice to protect that investment
should just be considered as insurance. You insure the physical assets of your business,
why wouldn’t you also insure your intangible assets when you know 80% of businesses
fail every five years leaving the owner with many difficulties?

A Business Plan is the Best Insurance you can buy to Protect Your
Business against Failure.

Template Overview

This template is organised the way you should organise your own business plan. The
sections provided below are typical in most business plans, although some businesses
may use slightly different headings. More complex plans will break the major sections
into subsections and provide far more detail. However, the business plan should be
considered a summary document, supported by subdocuments such as Marketing,
Human Resource and Financial Plans. The business plan is the place where the different
parts of your business are brought together. A small business might only have a 10 page
plan. But even large businesses should be able to have a plan that is less than 50 pages.

In the following section, each business plan chapter is described, and in some sections
such as Risk Analysis and Management, a step-by-step process for completing the
analysis is provided. As you read through this guide, take notes in each section on what
you will include for your business. When complete, transcribe your notes into a
narrative format using the same chapter headings. This will be Your Business Plan!

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At the end of this guide, a description of how to implement this program into your
business is presented. If this step is not taken, your business plan will quickly become
forgotten and irrelevant!

Your Business Plan should contain the following chapters:

! Executive Summary & Summary of Objectives


! Business Description Overview
! Goals and Objectives of the Business
! Key Strategies for Success
! Risk Analysis and Management
! Market Analysis & Strategy
! Operating Strategy
! Human Resource Strategy
! Research & Development Strategy
! Financial Strategy
! Business Plan Milestone Schedule
! Key Performance Indicators
! Five Year Financial Plan

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Business Plan Template

1. Executive Summary and Summary of Objectives

This section is a summary of the whole plan and should be less than a page (or it is not
a summary). The best time to write this is after you have finished the rest of the plan.
The summary should clearly state the key issues for the business.

Include in the summary:

! The purpose of the plan- eg to raise money, assess an investment, or


manage your business

! Description of your business- who you are, what you do and how you do it

! Description of your market

! Description of your business strategy

! How your business is managed- business organisation, and people

! Financial Summary- key performance indicators (profit, asset value, debt-


to-equity and any other key performance indicators

! Business Goals- what, by whom and by when

By forcing you to write this in one page it makes you consider what is really important
in your business. It is much harder to write just one page than ten pages.

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2. Business Description Overview

In this section, include a short history of your business, and describe the business
structure- ie who are the shareholders, is it a partnership or a joint venture. What is the
nature of the legal entity of the business. Along with the business name, trading names
should also be included. If the structure is complex, a diagram should be included.

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Name and describe the experience of the key executives of your business. How does
their experience help your business achieve its goals?
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Describe your business activity. This should include, what you do, how you do it, and
where you do it. Are you a manufacturer, a distributor, a retailer, a marketer, or a
service provider? Do you do everything yourself, or do you outsource much of your
business? In which geographical region do you operate? Do you operate locally,
regionally (define the region), statewide, nationwide or internationally?

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What are your products and services? Is there a core area, and non-core area of your
business. How do they support each other?

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Describe your marketplace. (Note that this section should just contain the conclusions
from the Market Strategy section, not the analysis.) In which industry sector do you
operate. Who are your customers? Who are your competitors. What are your
competitive advantages?
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3. Goals and Objectives of the Business

This is probably the single most important part of your business plan. Consider how
you would like your business to be in 5 years time. Ask the following questions?

! Will I be providing the same products and services?

! How big will my business be?

! How many staff?

! How much turnover and profit?

! Will my location be the same?

! Will my customers be the same?

! How many customers will I have?

! Will my business structure be the same?

! How many hours a week will I work?

! How many weeks holiday will I take a year?

! What is my exit strategy?

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Make as detailed a description as you possibly can of your business in 5 years.

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Now consider your business in 3 years, and describe it then.

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What will your business look like in one year from now?

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You now have your goals for the next 12 months! Write them down- they drive
everything in your plan. As you go through your plan and collect more information,
come back to this section and ask yourself, are they realistic? And, are they ambitious
enough?

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4. Key Strategies for Success

Your key strategies for success are the things you must focus on to ensure that you
achieve your goals. This is driven by your points of difference (or your competitive
advantage- this is covered in more detail in the Marketing Strategy section). Your key
success factors are what maintains your competitive advantage. For example, if one of
your points of difference is exceptional customer service, a key success factor would
probably be staff training.

Go through each of your points of difference, and list the things you must do to
maintain your competitive advantage.

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Point of Difference 4:____________________________________________________

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Who is responsible for doing these things? How do you make sure that these key
success factors are continually kept in everyone’s mind? There can be no compromise
on these strategies, after all they are critical to your success!

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5 Risk Analysis and Management

Most businesses fail because they have not undertaken a risk analysis and have not put
in place strategies to manage that risk. In this section you will identify the key risks to
your business, and put in place a strategy to address those risks. You will also identify
opportunities for your business.

The tool used to undertake this analysis is called the SWOT Analysis, which stands for
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This analysis is best done with
several people, and ideally with someone who can be considered as objective.

Strengths and Weaknesses are generally internal characteristics of your business that
may help or hinder you in achieving your goals. Your business might have strong
financial resources, which is a strength. Your business might be new, and therefore
unknown in the marketplace- a weakness. List as many strengths and weakness in your
business as you can. But challenge each one- what is the proof that something is a
strength or weakness. Financial strength means you can invest in your business, and
ride out swings in sales- this is clearly a strength. If you believe you have a great
reputation, how would you prove that to an outsider? And what has it enabled you to
do?
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
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Opportunities and Threats generally arise in the external business environment. An
economic downturn would be a threat if you sell consumer luxuries, but an opportunity
if you have an insolvency business! Other factors could include, technology, social, and
political. Consider also competitors and suppliers. Consider how each of these factors
can impact on your business, both positively and negatively. Often, a threat can also be
an opportunity, if you have a plan to address it in your market niche in a way no one
else is. List as many opportunities and threats that you can for your business.
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
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Having completed your SWOT list, and checked that you have been as objective a
possible, you are ready for the next step. (If you are being too kind to yourself, the only
person you are fooling is you. If you can, get a consultant to do a workshop with you on
this part of the business plan.) For each weakness and threat, come up with a plan to
address it. For example, if your weakness is that you are new in the market, you would
put in place a marketing strategy to get you noticed. If the threat was technological, you
might consider undertaking some research and development for your business. By
undertaking this analysis, you are insuring your business.

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For each strength, develop a plan to utilise that strength to reach your goals faster. For
example, if you have strong finances, you might buy a market position by merging with
another business. For each opportunity you have identified, create a plan to exploit that
opportunity. For example, a key competitor might be retiring. What can you do to
capture their market share? This analysis will make your business prosper.

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Once you have completed this analysis, list your key business risks, the potential impact
on your business, and how you will address each one.

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Your plans to exploit your strengths and opportunities will form part of your growth
strategy and plans. Ensure these plans are incorporated into the relevant strategy
sections in your business plan.

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6. Market Analysis & Strategy

In this section you should consider your place in the market. The starting point is the
widest definition possible of your market. Describe the history of your industry. What
have been the trends over time? How have the following impacted on your industry:

! Economic trends
! Social/demographic trends
! Technology
! Environment
! International factors
! Regulation
! Political Factors
! Competitors (imports)
! Unions
! Customers

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Describe future trends and how they will impact on your industry. Eg- for Telstra, the
copper wire phone network is being replaced by mobile and internet technology. What
was once its most valuable asset will be worth very little in the future.

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Describe your products and services. What has been your historical sales for these
products and services and what sales trends do you forecast for the future? What will be
the impact of all the previously identified trends on your business? What are your most
profitable lines? Will that change in the future?

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Describe your primary market and your position in the market. Who are your direct
competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are your points of
difference- why should customers buy from you? Be absolutely honest here. Quality
service is no longer a point of difference. Do your competitors promote the fact that the
don’t provide a quality service? Why do you current customers buy from you? Ask
them!

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Describe how you will use your points of difference to promote your business. What
will be your key marketing channels (eg Newspaper ads, Yellow Pages, internet, direct
mail etc.) How will you price your products? What other elements of your product or
service will you use to promote your product (eg free delivery, free installation,
guarantee, payment terms, volume discounts etc)? How will you manage your
marketing strategy? What will be the costs and marketing returns?

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Describe your sales plan. How will you target your customers? What support will be
given to your sales staff? What sales targets will they be given and how will they be
rewarded?

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7. Operating Strategy

This section describes the production/delivery of your product/service. Describe how


you produce your product, or conduct your service. Is it all done internally, or are some
parts outsourced? Is the current arrangement likely to change? (eg you are currently
outsourcing production until you can set up your own facility.)

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Describe your current capacity utilisation. What are the current limitations on
production? Are you facility limited, personnel limited, supplier limited or are you sales
limited? What is your plan to address those limits? Get a bigger facility, hire/train more
staff, seek out alternative suppliers? How are you going to do this?

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Describe your operating advantages. (eg patented technology, intellectual property,


lower costs). What is critical to your operational success? (eg supply quality /
availability / diversity, equipment maintenance)

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Detail the cost of production / services. Are there volume cost reductions. Is there a
seasonal cost variation. What are the major cost inputs, and how variable are they?
What is the standard cost and marginal cost?

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Describe your safety and environment plans. (For a complex operation this may need a
whole chapter of its own. For a small operation- at least a fire safety plan is advisable.)

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8. Human Resource Strategy

This section describes your organisation and your strategy for managing your staff not
only during normal daily operations, but as your business develops.
Describe how your organisation will change as it achieves the goals you set out earlier.
Is there a change in composition / skills / experience / numbers over time? How are
these changes to be achieved? Through recruitment? Through training? Through
outsourcing? Several organisation charts may be helpful here.
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Describe your Human Resources Process. How do you set performance targets? How
do you monitor performance? How does your appraisal system work? What is your
method of reward and remuneration?
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Describe your staff development system. What is your balance between turnover and
training?
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9. Research and Development Strategy

In this section, you will present your product / service development plans.

Describe the status of your products / services and your plans to update / upgrade them.
At what stage are they in their lifecycle? Are your customers looking at alternative
suppliers because your offerings are becoming outdated, or are you just being left
behind by superior offerings from your competitors? What product development
strategies do you have for keeping up with or leading your competitors?

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Describe any new technologies you are developing to enhance your products and
services. Are there any patent of copyright implications for your existing or developing
products / services?

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Describe how you are developing the new products / services. Is this being undertaken
internally? Are you sponsoring external research? What rights will you have for these
technologies in the future?
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Describe the risks involved in the new products / services? Is what is being developed
so new that there is no proven market? Is the technology untested so that it is uncertain
if it will even work? Are there regulatory barriers to be overcome? What other barriers
to success are there? What are you doing to address these risks?

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Describe the costs involved in the development of the new products/services. Are there
risks of cost blowouts? How will these be managed? What is the expected return, and
payback period of this development project?

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10. Financial Strategy

In this section describe how your operations and development strategy are financed. If
this is a new business, this should include a detailed investment analysis that shows the
return on your initial investment and a breakeven analysis.

Describe the balance sheet position of your business- ie current and non-current assets,
and current and non current liabilities.
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Describe your funding strategy. Are all investments in your business to be funded by
retained earnings, or will you raise funds from outside your business? Will this be from
a third party, or from the owners? Will you provide security from business assets, or a
personal guarantee? Will you raise capital through equity? What are the lending terms?

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11. Business Milestone Schedule

This section summarises the key goals and objectives identified earlier. It is a bullet
point check list of your progress against your goals. You will use this list to measure
your performance on a quarterly basis. Major reviews would occur semi-annually and
annually. Your quarterly goals in the current quarter will be transformed into monthly,
weekly and daily goals, so that every day you are doing something to achieve your long
term goals.

Describe your goals in each quarter for the current year. These should be based on your
current year goals that you defined earlier. Each goal should be specific, measurable,
should have a deadline, and a goal owner who is accountable for delivery.
Quarter 1:

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Quarter 2:

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Deadline:______________________________________________________________

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Deadline:______________________________________________________________

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List Your Goals for Year 2

Year 2:

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At the end of Year 1, the Year 2 goals should be broken down into quarters with
deadlines and goal owners.

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12. Key Performance Indicators

In this section a list of measures is developed that you will use to monitor the Key
Performance Indicators (KPI’s) of your business. These are often financial measures
but should also be related to each key area of your business. Make sure you include you
Key Success Factors in your KPI’s.

Develop a reporting process in your business to keep track of these indicators.


Depending on the business, these indicators could be daily (for a transactional
business), weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual. It is strongly recommended at the
very minimum that a quarterly report and monthly financial report be developed. Each
KPI should have a target value.

Some suggested Financial KPI’s are:


! Cash at hand
! Creditors
! Debtors
! Profit
! Inventory

What are your Financial KPI’s?


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Some suggested Marketing KPI’s are:


! Sales
! Cost per Sale

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! Number of Enquiries
! Cost per Lead
! Conversion Rate
! Upsales / Crosssales / Backend sales
! Repeat Business

What are your Marketing KPI’s?


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Some suggested Operational KPI’s are:


! Units produced
! Unit Costs
! Returns / Customer Complaints
! Uptime
! Stock-outs
! Production targets

What are your Operational KPI’s?


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Some suggested Human Resource KPI’s are:

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! Staff Turnover
! Training Goals met
! Staff satisfaction survey results
! Staff appraisals completion rate

What are your Human Resource KPI’s?


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Some suggested Safety & Environment KPI’s are:


! Lost Time Injuries
! Medical Treatments
! Near Misses
! Regulatory Compliance Performance
! Environmental Emissions
! Spills
! Recycle Targets

What are your Safety & Environment KPI’s?


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Also list any other KPI’s in other categories relevant to your business..

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13. Five Year Financial Plan

In this section, all the previous information is brought together and quantified. KPI’s
from the previous section must match this section. For a more sophisticated plan,
several scenarios can be used for the financial plan. For example, a conservative plan,
where you might assume higher costs and lower sales might be developed. This is
particularly important when starting a business as owners are notoriously optimistic
when starting out. An upside potential case may also be developed as a stress case for
the business. Although in this example a cashflow forecast is shown, profit forecasts
can also be prepared.

For each case, clearly state the assumptions for your forecast. Firstly prepare a monthly
forecast for the current year. When preparing this forecast, consider seasonal factors,
and also the time for payment to be received. There is usually a delay between a sale
and receipt of cash. You also generally pay your suppliers before you get paid. You
may also wish to allow for returns and bad debtors. Once the first year forecast is
complete, prepare an annual five year forecast, with the current year forecast being the
first year of this forecast. Start with your sales forecast:

July August September


Units Product A Sold 100 120 110
Average Price Product A 300 300 300
Revenue Product A 30000 36000 33000
Units Product B Sold 30 35 40
Average Price Product B 500 500 500
Revenue Product B 15000 17500 20000
Units Product C Sold 200 220 180
Average Price Product C 200 200 200
Revenue Product C 40000 44000 36000
Total Revenue 85000 97500 89000

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A similar table could be prepared to calculate the cost of goods sold using the marginal
unit cost. The overheads are treated separately. Note that production and sales volumes
may not be the same!

(In this example, cash is received 30 days after sales)


July August September
Total Receipts 85000 97500
Less Marketing Costs 4000 3500 3500
Net Receipts (4000) 81500 94000
Less Cost of Goods Sold
Materials 5000 5500 5500
Contractors 3000 4000 4000
Consumables 2000 2500 2500
Operations Wages 15000 15000 15000
Total Cost of Goods Sold 25000 27000 27000
Gross Operating Profit (29000) 54500 67000
Rent 5000 5000 5000
Interest 2000 2000 2000
Administration 3000 3000 3000
Motor Vehicles 1000 1500 1500
Research & Development 2000 2000 2000
Capital Expenditure 15000
Other Costs 12500 12000 23000
Total Overhead 25500 40500 36500
Net Cashflow (54500) 14000 30500
Opening Bank Balance 50000 (4500) 9500
Closing Bank Balance (4500) 9500 40000

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In business, cash is king, and you must always understand your cash position On an
annual basis, profit becomes a more informative tool, where the value of investment is
measured through depreciation, rather that a one-off expense at the time of the
expense. The profit & loss analysis is less sensitive to cashflow volatility and is more
useful for determining the general health of your business. There are many ways of
preparing a profit & loss analysis. This is best performed by an accountant who can
properly present your tax position.

Once these financial forecasts have been made, you can investigate your sensitivity to
changing circumstances. For example, do a breakeven analysis. How far can sales fall
before you are making losses? How high can the cost of your supplies rise? List the
variables that are most sensitive in your business. Some examples of sensitive areas are:
! Price
! Volume
! Cost of goods sold
! Overheads
! Inventory
! Interest
For each area that you have identified, what would happen to your bottom line if you
varied its value by 10%- eg what would happen to your profits if you varied your prices
by 10%. In this case, not only would there be a simple arithmetic impact, there might
also be a demand impact. Look at each of the impacts that occur with a change of 10%
in its value. The ones with the biggest changes, require the most attention. Although in
some circumstances, an obvious change is not possible. For example, you would like to
reduce your bank interest payments- but there is probably not much you can do about
interest rate. However, a reduction in your principle through a reduction of working
capital may well be a viable option.

What are the areas you have identified for your business with the highest sensitivity,
and what is your action plan?

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Making your Plan a Reality

You now have a plan. But this is not the end of the process. While few of the business
owners that we have met with have a business plan, of those few, even fewer actually
received any benefit from their plan. And the reason for that is that there was no
implementation process. Whether you have written a business plan or not, we have yet
to meet a business owner who believes a plan is not necessary! They all know that if
you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

So what goes wrong with business owners who do prepare a plan? The answer is
simple- they do nothing with their plan. They write it out, and then leave it on the
bottom shelf, expecting some magic transformation of their business to occur. To make
your plan a reality, you must make it a central part of your business. This is what you
need to do:
! Complete this template
! Put it into your own format- using our chapter headings as a guide.
! Take your quarterly goals and turn then into monthly goals
! Take the monthly goals and turn them into weekly goals
! Take your weekly goals and turn them into daily goals
! At the end of each day / week / month review your progress against your
long term goals.
! When you have met your goals- have a small celebration
! When you have not met your goals, analyse why you FAILED.
! Where ever there are gaps in your achievement- put in place remedial
plans to catch-up
! On a quarterly basis, review your achievements, do a reality check with
your goals, and adjust as necessary
! Ensure you have a formal review process of your goals- being too
forgiving of yourself will mean you will not achieve your objectives
You already know if you follow these rules, you will be successful. All you need is
determination and commitment. Don’t look for excuses- ACT NOW!
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