Business Planning
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Business Planning Technology Strategy Process Management Supply Chain Risk & Safety

Your Business Plan is your company's agreed view of the future. What products and services you are going to provide, who will be expected to buy them, what you can reasonably charge for them and what it costs you to deliver those services are all in the plan. The plan is the holistic overview of what the company does, how it makes money and how it needs to be financed.

A comprehensive business plan is needed whenever approaching any source of funding, be it banks for a loan, venture capitalists or the share market. Established companies need an annual plan to ensure their employees, customers and shareholders are each aware of the direction of the business.

Traditionally, the business plan has consisted of the Marketing Plan and the Financial Plan. Successful companies don't just stop there; they go beyond to include planning for how they will supply goods and services, how they will develop their product and process technology and for the risks involved in business. Some of these plan items are becoming mandatory, for example a Risk Management Plan. Ultimately the business wants to grow, profitably and also to be sustainable into the future. Wide-ranging business planning assists this objective.

Marketing Plan

Foremost of the Business Plans is the Marketing Plan.

Marketing isn't just about advertising and promotions. Marketing is a wide ranging process whereby individual and business needs and wants are quantified and expressed in terms of products and services; in turn these products and services are created and offered to the identified customers. Marketing covers the means by which products and services will be priced, promoted and distributed, and needs to provide a basis for determining costs for these activities.

A Marketing Plan is a very comprehensive document. See our Marketing Plan Template for a list of the subjects covered in a typical marketing plan. Starting with analysis of the need and size of the market, the plan develops quantitative information that is suitable for input into the financial plan.

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan consists of 3 sets of pro-forma documents, based upon the projections of the marketing plan:

bulletthe pro-forma profit-and-loss statement shows expected income and the cost to make that income over a given period
bulletthe pro-forma balance sheet indicates the value of the company and its capital structure at particular times
bulletcash flow projections: show the expected cash in-flows and out-flows, how much cash
is retained or leaves the company in a given period, and how much cash is needed
to finance the business.

Of these probably the most critical is the cash flow projection.

A leading reason for the failure of businesses is failure to provide enough cash. It is a common misconception to think that profit alone will solve a business' problems; that is not the case in the "real" world where the majority of sales are made on credit. There is a legal requirement for companies to trade with sufficient cash to meet their debts as they become due.

The profit-and-loss statement of a profitable enterprise shows far less is spent on raw material and resource inputs than is brought in as revenue. If both purchases and sales are made upon credit, on similar terms, the company is ever more exposed to cash shortages as its sales grow.  Companies can actually be victims of their own success!

Other aspects of financial planning include evaluating intended investments using net present value methods. We have significant experience in this technique.

We can work with you to make sure your financial plan makes sense, and that you plan for your business to be realistically funded.
 

Operations and Product Delivery Plan

Exactly how your internal operations are going to be arranged to deliver the products and services which your customers will buy is very much up to you. It doesn't affect the customer - as long as he can get what he wants, when he wants it.

It does however affect your profitability, and the ease with which you service your customers. A Product Delivery plan will lead to far better understanding of how your supply chain processes link inside the company and provides a basis for costing the service provides and for improving performance.

Research, Technology and Product Development Plan

A leading reason for failure of new technology businesses has been identified as excessive dependence upon the status of their technology at startup.  The more successful businesses have followed a thorough plan to develop that technology, to develop a diversity of product lines and to develop reliable processes, and process technology, for product and service delivery. Many businesses simply take the "bright idea" and trust financial glory will come from that alone; in fact those businesses which thrive use the idea as a foundation and build a comprehensive product and technology development program upon it .

Sustainability Planning:  Risk Assessment, Environment and Safety

Risk Management

It is now being legislated in Australia that companies have a comprehensive risk management plan. At the very least this includes planning for

bulletBusiness Risk: what happens in the event of strong competition, a price war, new technology or other changes to the "rules of the game".
bulletFinancial Risk: what happens if, for example,  interest rates jump or taxation rates double ?
bulletOperations Risk: what happens if, for example, a factory burns down or an office is closed because of a safety issue ?
bulletProduct Risk: what happens if, for example, a customer is harmed through use of a product or service ?

A comprehensive risk management plan, drawn up in consultation with the board and executive team, will address a variety of risks and state avoidance or mitigating strategies.

Environmental Considerations

Companies have a legal and an ethical obligation to protect the environment in which they. their employees, their customers and their shareholders work. In Australia specific legislation exists to protect the environment. An example of NSW laws is available on www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legal/envacts.htm.

Environmental protection includes protecting surrounding air and waterways from polluting substances. Environmental protection also includes protecting the site land and surrounding soil from contamination. The most effective way to achieve this aim is to manage the processes so the materials are contained.

A well managed process includes costs of containment. Aside from protecting against the risk of costly cleanup later, good containment systems reduce variable costs by ensuring materials are used for products and not just let out by mistake.

Safety

Companies have both a legal and an ethical requirement to ensure the safety of employees, customers and indeed anyone  whom the company deals with. In all Australian states, specific legislation exists to protect stakeholders. An example is the NSW OHS Regulations 2001 (available from www.workcover.nsw.gov.au).

Safety therefore must form an integral part of the business plan. A company needs to have systems in place both to protects its own staff and also such that no harm is done as a result of any particular action (or inaction) of the company.

The time taken to plan safe working is almost always recompensed by not having to take up time later reporting and investigation accidents, and saves by not having to pay out compensation.

Safety includes

occupational safety which is designed to protect individuals against harming themselves and others at work. Apart from "obvious" on the job injuries, an occupational health and safety plan needs to consider activities such as office work and salesperson travel.

process safety which is designed to protect the facility and the people working in and adjacent to it. Typically a process safety plan addresses specific measures to prevent fires, explosions, major spills and similar events. Process safety also includes the transport and storage of hazardous materials.

Contact John Croker (02 9416 8865 or 0418 263 795) for advice across the range of business plans, and to facilitate preparation of your plan.

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