There is a very famous saying:
Failing to Plan, is planning to Fail
This was said by Ben Franklin, Churchill and many others in some form or another. It really does apply to business plans. Did you know that 95% of businesses without a business plan fail… yes I know 87.567% of statistics are made up but feel free to go and verify this one. Without direction a new venture is likely to not succeed, which is where a vision statement comes in. Why start if you don’t plan to succeed so get planning. Now you know why you need one, what exactly is it? A business plan is a working document (by that I mean you don’t just write it once put it in that file and dust it off once every three years to show the bank when you want an overdraft or loan) It should be flexible, it should grow and change with the ever changing face of your business, it should reflect your business goals and finally but most importantly it should be current and up to date. I won’t go into detail over how to write one here as that is for future posts. I’ll just leave you with this If you want your business to succeed you have to plan for success, you need targets and plans these can’t be in your head they need to be recorded, so please start by just jotting down your business ideas, what is the general concept, who are your potential customers, what are your short, medium and long term goals.
I want to start a touring theatre company, which will supply theatre workshops to support the national curriculum. I want to deal with schools, local councils and government and social groups. I want to start in my local area probably with one troupe and once this is financially successful I’d like to branch out to other areas in the UK and eventually be the leading provider of TIE (Theatre in Education) for the UK.
This is all your start needs to be it states what you want to be, it’s main market and niche and some short and longer term goals. It is very basic and a top level overview of what you want to achieve, but it is a great starting point. In the next blog we will build on the above and start talking about how we turn our vision statement into a business plan with substance. Please feel free to ask me any questions you like by leaving a comment. and check out businesslink.gov.uk which is a very useful site with lot’s of information about starting a business including writing your business plans. Writing down what you want your business to be, the main services or products, who your main customers are and finally some short, medium and long term goals is very important, If you did as we suggested above and wrote a little about your business ideas, customers and goals then you can skip the below template. If you didn’t use this little template and fill in the blanks.
Within the next ___years grow (company name) ___________ into a business with £ ______ worth of annual sales. We will primarily operate in ______________ providing (describe products/services)_____________________________________ to (describe target customer and ideal client)_________________________ In the next year I aim to be
within the next three years I aim to be
Using this simple but powerful statements gives you a clear and concise vision statement with which to start your business plan. You can keep looking back and referring to it as you build the plan, allowing you to keep focused on what you want your business to achieve. It will help keep your plan lean and targeted. If you have multiple markets and or products you may want to write something similar for each niche. Believe it or not by writing the above you have already wrote your vision statement as it focuses on the what’s of your business, it describes your idealized perception of what your business will look like under ideal conditions, the key components are:
- Name of planned business venture
- The products/services you plan to provide
- The target markets you intend to serve
- Top level Goals