Business plans are a different kind of proposal. They have nuances of meaning that express whether not a startup of a company or an organization is feasible. They usually include financial information, marketing information, and human resource information. In this link I propose to share with you some thinking from a woman in a career women's conference I attended a few years. This speaker talked at some lengths about how to develop a business plan. In the next section are some of her ideas about how to develop a business plan. Also, many good books now exist on business planning. I will share some of those titles with you as well. Many of your marketing courses now insist you learn how to write marketing or business plans.
To develop a business plan you need an outline of the different proposal parts. First, you need a mission or a reason why the startup company or service should exist. What niche am I trying to fill? How does my business differ from every other business that has been conceived?
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (recommended: 2 pages)
Overview of the Business
Company strengths and competitive position anticipated
Highlights of management team
COMPANY GOALS/COMPANY BACKGROUND (recommended: 1 page)
Statement of the business
MARKETING ENVIRONMENT (recommended: 6-8 pages)
PRODUCTS/SERVICES (recommended: 2-3 pages)
Current products/services, descriptions, benefits
Future products/services, descriptions, reason for introduction
FINANCIALS (recommended: 2-3 pages)
Summary of company's/organization's past performance
Projections of future performance
OPERATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES (recommended: 2-6 pages)
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY, ACTION PLANS (recommended: 1 page)
Resumes of key management
Financial reports (past and future)
Technical descriptions of products and processes
Organization and Flow Charts
This list appealed to the audience at that seminar, because the list was practical. The development of the business plan could be used to secure a loan from a bank. The list with its appropriate headings could convince prospective investors to look at your company or proposed organization.
Create Export Business Plan with QuestionsContinue to expand your horizons as you think about business plans. Business plans now affect us globally. You may want to develop an export business plan. You think carefully about your geographic markets. You may want to take the advice of Carmon Stiles ("Writing a Business Plan Essential Before Entering Export Market," The Gazette, August 2, 1999, p. IB5), a private export consultant, who suggests the following questions for your full-blown business plan:
Answering these questions does not guarantee you a business plan. You are at least thoughtfully considering the process of developing such a plan. Nex, according to Stiles, you need cultural awareness. Your attitudes about your own culture will influence the way the plan is prepared. Check your awareness by answering the following yes-no questions:
- Is there a sufficient market for your product or service somewhere outside the United States?
- Name five countries that offer the best potential to start. Are sales of similar products to those markets increasing or decreasing? Are they seasonal? If so, what season?
- What is your market share in the United States?
- Based on total export statistics of similar products, is it reasonable to assume you can expect a percent of the import market in those five countries previously named?
- In those five markets, how much of competing products would be imported from countries other than the United States?
- In each of the five markets, what percentage of would-be competingt products are produced domestically?
- Is your product quality and technology competitive with other U.S. exporters, domestic competitors in your targeted countries, or exporters to your targeted markets from other countries?
- What modifications must you make to your product, packaging, advertising, marketing and administration to be competitive in your targeted markets?
- What type of marketing plan will you need to begin in each market?
What are your results with these previous questions? Stiles believes, if you answered "no" to three of the questions, you are on your way to creating an export business plan. I would urge one other caution. Either hire someone who knows the language of the targeted country or learn enough vocabulary to effectively communicate with your counterpart in another country. Learning someone else's language goes a long way to a better world understanding.
- Do you think people from other countries are in general less intelligent and socially inferior to North Americans?
- In your opinion, should the people in the rest of the world give up their own identity, history, culture and language and become more like Americans?
- Do you believe foreign buyers can be expected to buy from you just like your American customers?
- Are you willing to accept innovative ideas, new customs and changes to what you believe to be established ways of doing business?
Last updated Friday, September 4, 2002
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