Well … the new 2016 chapter has finally come, and the road to boost sales and revenue this year may seem bumpy for many Malaysian startups and SMEs in view of several attention-grabbing challenges such as weaker Malaysian Ringgit, increasing cost of living, impact of GST on Malaysia economy, changing of trading, retail and media market trend to a technological landscape etc.
So, how will you make your game plan this 2016?
Having had hundreds of business plan development and implementation experience with many startup and small-and-medium (SME) companies regionally myself thus far, I personally believe that it is important to put together your focused business objectives (or goals) and an actionable plan with budgeted revenues and expenses, a game changing 2016 should be unquestionably within reach.
In this Business Plan Guide 2016, I will walk you through a business plan outline you will need to know, explain to you about useful tips and tools that can help you reach your goals with a guide on my Strategic Plan Dashboard (SPD) so that you will be able to achieve your goals in 2016.
Ideal Length of a Business Plan
In my opinion, generally a typical business plan runs 20 to 25 pages though it will also rely significantly on the nature of the business. You should avoid using fancy writing, be simple and straight-forward in terms of your explanation. If you have a simpler conception, you should be able to express your business in less than a 20-page business plan in point forms. No thesis please.
Content of a Business Plan 2016
Whether you are launching a new business, preparing a startup business plan with the aim of drawing investors’ interest for funding, expanding an existing business through franchising model or reviving a money-losing business – you are required to carefully prepare a business plan. Most importantly, you must effectively use scarce resources to build sales and develop your company’s position in the market while dealing critical aspects of your day-to-day operations in accordance to your plan.
In my opinion, a good business plan generally comprises the following 8 chapters, and they can all be applied in your business planning when you are back to work tomorrow.
CHAPTER 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Your “Executive Summary” is the most important part of your business plan – if it does not attract investors to read further, it will be the end of the game. Refer to SPD 2016 as shown below, your vision, mission, values, uniqueness, key success factors, business opportunity and direction for the next 3 to 5 years should be included, and backed by realistic numbers and actionable plans.
CHAPTER 2: BUSINESS MODEL & OWNERSHIP
What is your business model? Think comprehensively before answering this question. Business model is important to any business type and scale, and it has become the new basis of competition nowadays, I strongly believe. It is a matter of life and death (of your business) because it affects the business directions, processes and margins. So your business model should not only explain the company ownership for the next 3-5 years, but also must include information on your company’s offerings, intermediaries and channels of distribution to reach customers for ultimate profits. Source of income, major costs involved in generating sales and the investment required is extreme important in this section.
CHAPTER 3: KEY PERSONNEL & HRM
To be successful in business of any stage be it in startup, in expansion or in ailing state, you must develop a good organizational structure and chart, articulating exactly who are the key persons and responsible to carry out each function, task and duty. Therefore, a key management team has to be revealed in this section by providing a breakdown of the people in the business. In many cases, it is almost impossible to move a business forward if you fail to find the right person. Many good business plans I have ever developed or seen sit still on shelves today as the owners could not find the right people who could execute their plans.
CHAPTER 4: SITUATION ANALYSIS
In your “Situational Analysis” section, the Relevant Market Sizing must be supported by two sub-sections namely Macro-Environment Overview and Micro-Environment Overview. More importantly, you should identify your Competitive Edge in this section through the latest list of direct/indirect competitors.
CHAPTER 5: MARKETING & SALES OPERATIONS
This “Marketing & Sales Operations” section is imperative, it is the strategic direction of your business and therefore should cover at least these three sub-sections called the Marketing Mix 7Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, Process, Positioning, and People), Marketing Calendar, and Sales Calendar.
CHAPTER 6: SOP & CONTROL
As the name suggests, SOP means Standard Operating Procedures, your “SOP & Control” section charts the daily standard functions and activities your business must conduct. For startup companies, you will need to have a brief flow chart for major functions. In contrast, for franchise businesses, you will need to detail all functions and activities in a book. In our experience here at GE Consult, a typical Franchise Operating Manual runs 120 to 150 pages.
CHAPTER 7: FINANCIAL FORECAST
Planning and implementing your company’s financial projections should be one of the first few important components in your business planning although it is always located at the back of your business plan. By completing this “Financial Forecast” section, you will obtain great clarity on the company you intend to build with accurate financial projections within a limited resource. In my experience, the fundamentals of a 3-year financial forecast should include Capital Expenditure, Market Sizing & Estimated Revenue, Operating Expenditure, Budgets, Profit & Loss Forecast, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow statement, Scenario Planning & Analysis, and Payback.
CHAPTER 8: APPENDIX & GRAPHICAL PRESENTATION
A complete business plan should include a list of appendixes and tables. In this section, you should attach supporting documents such as research papers, photos of offices or factories, lists of equipment and tools, awarded contracts, resumes of key persons, business registration documents, audited financial statement and detailed financial forecast calculations and graphical presentation.