Tips to Strengthen your Business Plan – Part 2

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In part one of this series, we looked at a few common mistakes that are made in business plan composition.  Now let’s take a look at some things you can do to enhance your plan.

Use phasing in your plan. The graphic below shows the different phases a business can go through.  Operational activities look very different in each one of these phases.  You may not have all of the answers right now, but you should at least have an idea of how you plan to grow your company.

Phasing

Market research is a pain, especially if you don’t know where to look.  In my experience, the best place to find what I was looking for was on industry tradeshow websites.  Research the tradeshows for your industry and peruse their websites to see if they have any market reports available.  If that doesn’t work, then Google can be your best friend!

I really like Mintel Oxygen Reports.  If you can find your industry report on Mintel then you’ve got it made.  The caveat here is that they typically cost money, that is unless your local university has access to this database and you happen to know a student or are one. Professional industry market research reports can be expensive, but can offer you the quick fix to get all your needed research in one place.   If you’re creating a new market, then you are out of luck unless you can find something representative of your new market that can be adapted.

Build a business model canvas for your business.  Alexander Osterwalder introduced the concept of the business model canvas in 2008 and it has been quickly adopted as a key tool used in business planning.  It’s a visual representation of the nuts and bolts of your business summed up into one page.  This process guides you toward thinking about what’s important and helps you to define your business.

business_model_canvas_poster

The exercise to build a business canvas model can be a fun and creative activity.  I like to use a blank template with a free-for-all sticky note war with all of the founders and mentors. In this manner, we try to eliminate groupthink and allow individuals to be creative with their input into each segment. Once all the creative energy is spent, we go through each sticky note and decide what stays and what goes as a group.  All of the answers can then be put into a one-page format like the example pictured above.

In closing, these are just a few of the tips I’ve picked up that I thought were really helpful in building a solid plan.  Take a look at your plan and see if these tips might help.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to “Stop Doing the Mundane, and Start Getting Weird!”

(Image Credit)

(Image Credit)

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