Determining Where You Want to Go

Determining Where You Want to Go

When putting together a business plan, you have to decide where you want to end up in the future. This part helps you get on track right away by establishing a mission for your company, along with business goals and objectives. Then we help you examine your company’s values and your vision for the future.

Sizing Up Your Marketplace

To make a useful plan for your business, you have to know something about the market you’re going after. In this part, we help you examine your industry and figure out what it takes to be successful by identifying where your opportunities and threats come from. We also help you analyses your customers, so that you can understand who they are, what they need and how you can group them to better serve them. Finally, we help you scope out your competition, trying to determine exactly what you need to win.

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Weighing Up Your Company’s Prospects

In this part, we turn our full attention to your company. We help you look as objectively as you can at your capabilities and resources, identifying the strengths that you can count on and the weaknesses that you need to deal with. We also help you zero in on what you do best, enabling you to figure out the real value that you provide for your customers and the true advantage that you have over your competitors. Finally, we guide you through your finances and help you put together a financial forecast and a budget.

Looking to the Future

The main reason why you make a business plan in the first place is to get ready for what lies ahead for your business. Part IV helps you look into your future and prepares you for change. We introduce several standard alternatives and show you how you can use them to come up with strategies of your own. And we consider the different directions that you can take as your company grows bigger.

A Planner’s Toolkit

Your business plan is no good if you can’t put it to work. In this part, we help you shape your company to be as efficient and effective as it can be. We also help you prepare the people in your company so that they’ve the skills they need to accomplish the goals set out in your plan. Finally, we show you a sample of a real business plan, so that you know – start to finish – what you’re aiming for.

The Part of Tens

The Part of Tens is a collection of reminders, hints, observations and warnings about what to do – and not to do – as you work through your business plan. These chapters focus on the big picture, so look at them whenever you need a little perspective on where you stand and where you’re headed, especially if the road ahead starts to look a little bumpy.

Where to Go from Here

Take a minute to thumb through this book and get comfortable with what’s inside. Then pick out one or two chapters that tickle your fancy. Better yet, turn to a chapter that you already know something about. Or, if you’re really daring, turn the page and start at the beginning.

Don’t forget to use the table of contents for a chapter-by-chapter breakdown. The index is also an excellent place to turn to find a specific topic right away.

Last Word

First, we look at how to establish a mission for your company and develop business goals and objectives with all your stakeholders in mind. We also point out why values are so important to your company, and show you how you can use your company’s values. Finally, we look at how a vision for your company gives you something to aim for and a direction to take.

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