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How Business Planning Drives Growth

Economic conditions, consumer tastes and competitor behaviour change very rapidly in the business world.

To keep pace with developments you have to be able to make fast, informed decisions about threats and opportunities as they arise. You need clear direction, a detailed understanding of your environment, and up-to-the minute information about your performance and capabilities.

This White Paper explores how the strategic planning process can drive your business forward and why organisations with a current business plan consistently outperform their competition.

Why do I need a business plan?

Many business owners assume that they only need a business plan to get a loan - and when required they approach them as an unwelcome chore. In reality the strategic planning process is a vital step to success for any business. It’s an invaluable opportunity to take control of your business and influence the future.

These are the top five reasons why you need one:

1. To make sure your business model is viable
Great ideas don’t necessarily lead to profitable businesses. Before you invest too heavily in your business you should thoroughly test your assumptions, talk to your target market and examine the cold hard facts to make sure your business model has the potential to be profitable.

2. To learn about your customers
The better you understand your customers, the more likely you are to give them something they’ll be willing to pay for. Identifying your target market, engaging with them and finding out what they really need allows you to identify a unique selling proposition (USP) that will successfully attract and retain customers.

3. To identify areas for improvement
Getting honest feedback from all your stakeholders, both internal and external, is one of the most valuable aspects of the business planning process. Examining your business from your customers’ point of view lets you fix mistakes before they cost you sales. Meanwhile, uncovering and resolving inefficiencies in your operations can deliver substantial cost and time savings.

4. To identify and evaluate opportunities
Exploring your competitive environment is another critical part of the business planning process. Finding out what your competitors are doing, and what customers like and dislike, lets you focus on business that will be genuinely profitable. Not every opportunity will strengthen your business model, and a customer-focused strategic plan lets you evaluate each prospect against clear long-term goals.

5. To secure finance or investment
If you want borrow money, attract investors or sell your business you will need to present your business plan. A thorough, realistic and fully integrated strategic plan will carry far more weight with potential lenders, investors or purchasers than a document produced just to meet their requirements.

What will happen if I don’t create a business plan?

80% of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Forbes Magazine lists the following as the top 5 reasons for failure:

• Lack of understanding of customers.
• Lack of differentiation in the market.
• Failure to effectively communicate a value proposition.
• Uninformed decision-making.
• Unsuccessful business model.

Until you conduct a thorough business planning process you could be at risk from any or all of these issues. Without a strategic plan you’re flying blind, making decisions based on incomplete information and assumptions about what your customers want and how they perceive your business.

As well as the impact on the financial performance and growth of your business, poor strategic management and the daily stress of trying to run a business without direction can take a very personal toll on your health and wellbeing. 

What are the direct benefits?

A thorough planning process enables you to:

  • Clarify how you will build a profitable, successful business.
  • Engage more effectively with your customers, to drive more sales.
  • Gain control over your business and reduce the daily stress of ‘fire-fighting’.
  • Identify problem areas and seek expert help if necessary.
  • Communicate your goals internally, to empower staff and improve morale.
  • Identify and evaluate new business opportunities.
  • Build your credibility and give other people confidence in your business.
  • Prepare a smooth succession plan and exit strategy.
  • Secure funding, investment or a buyer for your business.

These outcomes deliver substantial benefits across the short, medium and long term.

What results will I see? 

A well-prepared and properly implemented strategic plan can: 

  • Improved employee commitment by building on a shared vision and setting individual and team goals that are aligned with your business strategy, to unify and engage your people.
  • Increase management control and improves productivity, performance and capacity by identifying ways to improve your operational, service delivery, people management and reporting systems.
  • Optimise your financial performance by delivering increases in financial control, customer engagement, sales and profits.

You can expect to see an ongoing return on your investment of between 200% and 500% after the first year. These results will be sustainable and long lasting, because direct improvements to marketing, processes and management systems provide levers to give you better control of every aspect of your business. 

Can I do it alone? 

To be of value your business plan needs to be based on realistic assumptions and a thorough, detailed and objective analysis of your business and market. 

Once you have identified your strategies they need to be implemented throughout your business. Your success will depend on full engagement, clear communication, and effective leadership. You’ll need to establish an effective review cycle to ensure your plan remains relevant and is fully integrated into every aspect of your business. 

Many businesses struggle with setting and implementing business strategy because the ability to turn theory into a robust and achievable strategy usually comes from practice, knowledge, and hands-on experience. That’s why most business owners and managers realise they need expert advice and guidance. 

Outsourcing strategic planning to a consultant:

  • Offers a far deeper level of expertise than would be feasible for you to retain in-house.
  • Provides an unbiased, objective perspective on the challenges faced by your business.
  • Can help you navigate with fresh insight and ensure you make better decisions every step of the way.
  • Provides affordable, as-needed access to the specialised knowledge and experience that really drive results.
A well-prepared and properly implemented strategic plan can:

  • Improve employee commitment by building on a shared vision and setting individual and team goals that are aligned with your business strategy, to unify and engage your people.
  • Increase management control and improve productivity, performance and capacity by identifying ways to improve your operational, service delivery, people management and reporting systems.
  • Optimise your financial performance by delivering increases in financial control, customer engagement, sales and profits.
You can expect to see an ongoing return on your investment of between 200% and 500% after the first year. These results will be sustainable and long lasting, because direct improvements to marketing, processes and management systems provide levers to give you better control of every aspect of your business.

Can I do it alone?

To be of value your business plan needs to be based on realistic assumptions and a thorough, detailed and objective analysis of your business and market.

Once you have identified your strategies they need to be implemented throughout your business. Your success will depend on full engagement, clear communication, and effective leadership. You’ll need to establish an effective review cycle to ensure your plan remains relevant and is fully integrated into every aspect of your business.

Many businesses struggle with setting and implementing business strategy because the ability to turn theory into a robust and achievable strategy usually comes from practice, knowledge, and hands-on experience. That’s why most business owners and managers realise they need expert advice and guidance.

Outsourcing strategic planning to a consultant:

  • Offers a far deeper level of expertise than would be feasible for you to retain in-house. 
  • Provides an unbiased, objective perspective on the challenges faced by your business.
  • Can help you navigate with fresh insight and ensure you make better decisions every step of the way. 
  • Provides affordable, as-needed access to the specialised knowledge and experience that really drive results. 
Here’s just some of what our clients say about us. Visit our website or contact us for more client feedback.

"Unity Management took an objective look at my business and organised, clarified and put it into a succinct, meaningful and very useful document.

I highly recommend their expertise and efficiency. I am very impressed by the level of understanding, professionalism and proficiency."
Terry MD FountainLine IMS

"We are an old company and working with Unity has been the best investment we have made in 20 years. The value of our business has finally been realised and retirement is now a reality. We can't thank you enough." Schneider Fishing Lines

Would you like a copy of this White Paper? Please email us at info@unitymanagement.com.au for your copy.




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