steveosedo

Business planning a must for business success ?

Posted on: December 18, 2010

A business plan is any document or plan that works for a business to look ahead. The plan will assist it in it`s resources allocation, focus on key issues, and prepare for upcoming opportunities. Many people think of business plans as applicable only for starting a new business or applying for business finance, and it is true that the vast majority of lenders will require a business plan to review as part of their own due diligence regarding the loan application.
However, as with many things in life, planning in business is necessary to assist the direction of the business.Most businesses need plans to optimise growth potential and to develop and grow to achieve the goals and the aspirations of the owners.

Starting a business is may be uneasy, and it is normally helpful to have a blueprint that can help you to manage the business. A business plan therefore helps your thinking through what you want to do prior to rushing in to the business.
Business Plans acts as a management tool to help you focus on where you are now and where you want the business to be in the future. It is many things, amongst others:

•A feasibility study of the business’s chances for success and growth. If you are putting your life savings on the line, endangering your family’s stability, and borrowing other peoples money, it is your responsibility to minimise the risks involved. The business planning process does not guarantee success, but does decrease the risk of failure.
•An operational tool to define the company’s present status and future possibilities.What capital does it have now and what are the revenues over the plan period
•A management tool to assist with the day to day management of the business. What products ,what quantities are projected to be sold in the planned period
•A sales document for the business when targeted at lenders/investors.
Ideally, the business plan should be written by the owner of the business . He is the person who knows most about it (or you should do). Consultancies can be hired to assist in specific areas of the plan, and also to critique it, but ultimately it’s the owners responsibility. The lender will be looking to the owner to respond to their questions, not an external consultant.

Most consultants have many years of business planning experience, working with companies ranging from SME’s to nationals and multi-nationals. Working with yourself or your in-house personnel, a complete business plan covering periods from one to five years can be created, with the financial projections being prepared on bespoke financial modelling software, thus ensuring that they are robust under external scrutiny. At all times the involvement of NFS is on your terms – it may be to prepare the financial forecasts, critique an already prepared plan, or work with you to write the entire plan. At all times NFS will look to ensure that only the highest quality of thought goes into the plan.

Additionally, NFS is available to assist you with specific financial management projects, interim or part time roles such as finance director, and can also take a consultancy approach, reviewing your existing business processes and improving where-ever possible, with the overall objective of streamlining operations and reducing costs, thus improving the bottom line performance of your business.

Fees for business planning, interim management, and consultancy work are charged by the day/half day and clients find that they compare very favourably with those charged by their own accountants. Some clients often find that their own accountants do not have the necessary experience of working in industry to effectively contribute to the business planning process .

Steve Osedo is a financial consultant and CEO of Apexconsultants.co.uk

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