5 pieces of useful information contained in your business plan summary

  • What is your Unique Business Proposition? This is a basic description of your business: Who you are, what you do, where you are, and what is unique, special or different about your company? What are you really good at, your special area of expertise? What attracted customers come to you in the first place, and why do they return?
  • What is the Purpose of your business, as seen from the customer’s perspective? This is the WHY of your business, as seen from the customer’s perspective. Why you do what you do, what core problem do you solve, value you provide or fundamental need you fulfill for your customers? I invite you to take extra time to think this one through. This is not about you or your company, such as being the best at this or that, or making money. It’s about the customer!

If you struggle a little with this, you are not alone. Getting clear about your purpose may take awhile. Talk with your customers. Peter Shutz, a resource speaker for The Executive Committee (TEC) recently reminded us “If you listen closely enough, your customers will explain your business to you.

  • What is Your Destination? This your longer term goal, your picture of success 3 years from now.

Be specific, clear, and use quantifiable language as much as possible. Keep it simple and easy to understand, with a limit of 3-5 major results.

Start with your financial goals.

  • One goal for revenue/profit
  • One based on improving some aspect of your balance sheet and/or cash flow position

To help set financial goals, start with a review of the past 2-5 year numbers, if you have them. Be realistic in your expectations of future results. When setting your revenue targets its critical to have the accompanying profit improvement goals. Pushing only for revenue growth, in the absence of profit targets is a recipe for disaster. We strongly recommend you assess your balance sheet and set a meaningful goal for this part of your business.

Other goals may involve changes to your culture, people development, geographic expansion, product innova- tion, acquisitions, or any goal that would make you happy as the CEO.

  • What are your One Year Goals? What do you need to accomplish in the next 12 months? These will be a shorter term version, milestones, of the items listed under the Destination.
  • What is your Strategy? In broad terms, how you will achieve these results? We suggest you have at least one strategy for each goal statement above.

Note: Goals and strategies may look similar as there is a thin distinction between what is a goal and what is a strategy. Try to identify the 3-5 most important results, put these in the goals and destination sections, and leave the other ideas to the strategy section.

Destination and goals are the end results. Strategies are the things you need to do to get there.

Example

Goal: Revenue increased by 15%

Strategies may include: Improve our marketing effectiveness (including web site and social media), increase sales to existing customers by 30%, etc.

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