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Business Planning

Have you ever heard the old adage – ‘He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail?’

This is one of the most accurate statements ever made when it comes to managing your club, its focus, and long-term goals. Business planning is much more than just writing a business plan, but writing a business plan is a good first step because it provides a flexible, adaptable framework about how to achieve your clubs goals. Let’s look at this further.

Business planning is often conducted when:

  • Starting a new venture (organization, product or service)
  • Expanding a current organization, product or service
  • Buying a current organization, product or service
  • Working to improve the management of a current organization, product or service

These areas are typically addressed first by development of your club/organization business plan.

A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.

The business goals being attempted may be for-profit or non-profit. For-profit business plans typically focus on financial goals. Non-profit business plans tend to focus on service goals, although non-profits may also focus on maximizing profit. Business plans may also target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, tax-payer, or larger community. A business plan having changes in perception and branding as its primary goals is called a marketing plan. This illustrates to you how the business planning begins to expand, focusing on marketing and other key areas for business growth and survival.

Business plans may be internally or externally focused.

Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profit's services.

Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new a new branch of your club, a restructuring of finance, or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.

Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department. Project plans, sometimes known as project frameworks, describe the goals of a particular project. They may also address the project's place within the organization's larger strategic goals.

There are a wide variety of formats for a business plan. The particular format and amount of content included in a plan depends on the complexity of the organization, product or service and on the demands of those who will use the business plan to make a decision, eg, an investor, funder, management, Board of Directors, etc.

Overall, the contents of a business plan typically aim to:

  1. Describe the venture (new or current organization, product or service), often including its primary features, advantages and benefits
  2. What the organization wants to do with it (buy it, expand it, etc.)
  3. Justification that the plans are credible (e.g., results of research that indicate the need for what the organization wants to do)
  4. Marketing plans, including research results about how the venture will be marketed (eg, who the customers will be, any specific groups (or targets) of customers, why they need the venture (benefits they seek from the venture), how they will use the venture, what they will be willing to pay, how the venture will be advertised and promoted, etc.)
  5. Staffing plans, including what expertise will be needed to build (sometimes included in business plans) and provide the venture on an ongoing basis
  6. Management plans, including how the expertise will be organized, coordinated and led
  7. Financial plans, including costs to build the venture (sometimes included in business plans), costs to operate the venture, expected revenue, budgets for each of the first several years into the future, when the venture might break-even (begin making more money overall than it has cost), etc.
  8. Appendices (there are a wide variety of materials included in appendices, e.g., description of the overall organization, its other products and/or services, its current staff, etc.)

In brief, business plans are decision-making tools. There is no fixed content for a business plan. Rather the content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. A business plan should contain whatever information is needed to decide whether or not to pursue a goal. For our purposes, we’d like you to think of the business plan as a way to obtain operational funds to help you develop your business to its full potential. The plan should be written well enough to obtain a bank loan should you desire to do so and thus, requires extensive thought and preparation. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission.

Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.

Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance, human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management, operations management, and marketing, among others. It can be helpful to view the business plan as a collection of sub-plans, one for each of the main business disciplines.

This is where the USKKA can help you because most club/organizations simply do not have the expertise to assist/develop business planning/plans, marketing goals and strategies, and so forth. Let us help you grow your business to new levels. Look for this service in our store.

We’ll do the hard work for you so you can implement the planning and grow beyond your dreams!

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