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Key Outcomes of a Great Business Plan

Source: http://bryansbizblog.com

What should be the key outcomes of a great strategic business planning session? I view business planning as more than creating a set of targeted numbers which management uses to define growth. And while good business plans include marketing plans, or at a minimum, marketing strategies to achieve the budget goals, planning sessions need to produce additional information.

A good planning session should result in the following key outcomes for the owner and managers of a small business:

• A time specific budget including revenues, expenses and a reasonable estimation of cash flow.
• A summary of the fiscal assumptions used to create the budget and cash flow assumptions.
• A specific set of marketing goals, with benchmark indicators of success.
• A specific set of goals which detail specific systems, or support services, needed to be created and implemented to achieve the anticipated growth of the business.
• Goal(s) outlining specific expansion bench marks if significant business growth and development has been planned.
• A summary of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the business needs to address over the time period of the business plan.

Business plans are real-time guides for a business. To achieve growth over time it is not enough to develop a ‘budget’ without describing and benchmarking specific activities and actions which must be completed to achieve the desired ‘bottom line results’ of the owner and management.

Whether you conduct your own business planning session, or you hire a business consultant to facilitate such a session, the business plan should include not just your targeted budget. It should include the bench mark indicators necessary to successfully achieve the plan.

Weekly postings on management and organizational issues for both businesses and non-profits from Bryan Nelson of Vista Management Solutions.

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