There is so much to learn about business…and a good reason why an MBA is so difficult and takes time and lots of effort! However, just by knowing a little bit more, you will gain a big advantage.
Why come to a workshop?
In our workshops, we give you a template business plan. If you have ever Googled ‘Business plan template’, you will know that having a decent template alone is worth its weight in gold! There are so many available and some are incredibly complex, with hundreds of complicated headings with confusing jargon and no guidance for completing it. Our template is different. It really is a ‘Goldilocks template’…not too long…not too short…just right!
In the plan, there are a number of headings and each one relates to the core areas of business that you need to understand. We take you through each of these areas, in detail, explaining how to understand it, how to write about it and how to use it, until it becomes a 360o degree tool that lets you analyse your business from all angles. It will take time to create, but once you have, it will become something extremely valuable and which has many, many uses. We do cover a significant amount in just five hours.
Below, you will find all of the main areas we cover, each described briefly, to help you understand more about how flexible and useful a business plan is once written up.
Furthermore, we keep all of our workshops to a maximum of six people, to ensure we have the time to offer personalised advice, allowing the chance for everyone to ask questions, and, so that everyone can share their experiences.
Mission, Values and Vision
We always start our workshop by discussing the mission and vision for your business, as well as the values or philosophy that you stand by. It is a great starting point because we like you to think about your business as ‘a business’, not a hobby and not a sideline. It gets you to think about the ‘now’, as well as the future and who / where you want to be. With the use of a short discussion, time for a quick brainstorm and helpful recommendations from us, we will get you writing a first draft for all three elements before we even have our first coffee break!
Objectives and Goal Setting
Setting objectives at an early stage is really important. We encourage everyone to think about their objectives or goals (whichever terminology they prefer) in terms of all angles of the business…from purely money-driven ones…to very personal ones, such as booking time off!
Situational Analysis – market and industry research
As the name suggests, this is when we get you thinking about your ‘situation’, by which we mean the market your business ‘sits in’. For starters, is there a market? How big is the market? Is there a big enough market for you to make a profit? Who are your competitors? This is the start of the hard graft section of a business plan. It is time to start doing research and getting to know your industry inside and out…after all, knowledge is power.
This is another ‘chunky’ section of your business plan, which will take considerable time away from the workshop. We aim to help you be objective, be fearless and be thorough! Giving you spreadsheets to help with your research, showing you ways in which to analyse the information and to position yourself within your market; to see who you are directly competing with and why.
We truly believe in analysing your business objectively and there are huge benefits in some self-analysis. Within the workshop, we complete a quick SWOT analysis, identifying strengths and weaknesses, then, opportunities and threats and look how these can be used and put to good use within your business.
We then move onto the tactical plans. With the research and ‘hard graft’ done, it’s time to focus on using all the research to decide what actions are to be taken and how to do it.
In this section, we take a look at the markets you want to pursue and who your customers really are.; focusing on their needs and wants and understanding our connections with them.
Product/Service & Pricing Strategy
What is your service offering or product mix? What are its life cycle and your plan for further development? How are you priced? Are you making a profit? Can you assure sales? Does your price reflect your offering? Are you competitive?
This section does get technical, but with the help of some tools we provide and Sam’s extensive knowledge, we help you to understand how to price your products and your services. We explain your ‘profit margins’ and how to utilise them to gain the maximum out of your market.
This covers how you will sell, what channels you will use to provide you with a strategic advantage and how you distribute. Basically, the whole process of how you move your product / service to the end user.
Here we establish the process and the tools necessary to sell. The importance of forecasting and the relevance of sales tools.
Now it’s time to talk marketing and content – Kate’s favourite! What are your tactics, how do you plan to gain new customers, retain current ones and create customer loyalty.
Team and Operations Information
We spend a short time covering the infrastructure and your team. Here we dig into the nuts and bolts of your business, the policies, customer charters and create a clear picture of the tasks and responsibilities.
We try and cover this section in great detail throughout the planning, enabling you to create and understand your cashflow, based on your assumptions and understanding of your product, market and customers.
The business plan – the ultimate business tool
So, there you have it…!
The idea of a business plan is that it is a continual work in motion, a business tool to be used regularly. When starting out you go back and forwards updating, adding and changing elements, based on your research and new things you learn. Once happy with your format, you should then check and evaluate your plan on a regular basis – to see how you are going with your goals and objectives, how close you are to your sales and cash flow forecasts and re-reading sections to remind yourself where you are and what you had planned.
They really are effective if used correctly – so, come along to our next workshop and let us help you to get a 360o view of your business.
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