The Business Plan, Strategic Planning and their relationship.

Over the last 40 years I have repeatedly been asked what is the value or point of a written Business Plan ? My answer has remained constant. It is the primary tool that all successful businesses use to maximize the return on their investment, secure employment, protect their assets and drive the business forward.

So over the coming weeks I thought I would share a comprehensive answer by publishing, a FREE self-help guide, to constructing a Business Plan that anyone can follow.

This is the template I have successfully used for start-ups and to rescue loss making businesses in various industries, countries and cultures. I have employed this structure in negotiations with many of the leading banks and venture capital investors. It is a hand’s on guide. I invite comment and additions from my fellow professional consultants. None of us have all the answers, but some of us have got the bruises and scars that come from previous mistakes and the lessons learned.

The first instalment will explore the vital role of the Strategic Goals that should identify the reason for being in the business. Too many businesses start because the owner is good at his or her trade. The running and structure of the business takes second place and thus tend to be run along familiar industry patterns, because “that’s how other existing businesses do things”. Without clear and identifiable purposes or goals such businesses always fail. I would prefer that you are each successful and realise your dreams, so please feel free to prosper from knowledge gained by others. I invite you to download this template, share it, copy it but most of all please use it.

A few points to consider:

The function of a Business Plan is not simply to borrow money from a bank. Rather it is the tool by which any successful business owner or budding entrepreneur can assess and run his business venture in a virtual sense before committing the money. The creation of the Business Plan enables you to experiment with infinite possible trading scenarios. It is the environment where the business owner can explore risk without loosing any money. The Business Plan is the tool that enables you to manage a series of critical changes to your business and establish which course of action offers the greatest reward at the lowest risk. Banks like businesses that have a structured and well researched Business Plan because it reveals how well informed the business owner is, and how credible their proposals.

The Business Plan should be compiled by the brightest minds in the business, preferably the business owners or Directors. It should not be researched and written by an outside consultancy, ( yes I have written many in my role as consultant or mentor). The critical point that cannot be stressed enough is that it is vital for the business owner to be deeply involved in all aspects of the Business Plan creation in order to make open and informed choices. It is the process of researching and constructing the B.P. that is so critical. A lot of people have a dream of a new product or service that is very often based on nothing stronger than hope or aspiration. The creation of a B.P. makes you assess the reality of the market, the reality of the product worth to prospective customers. The B.P. allows you to explore alternative routes to market, funding scenarios, staffing levels and capabilities and so much more.

So that you can access this free guide whenever you need, I will post it on LinkedIn but back it up on the blog at Please visit, download, copy and comment at your leisure.