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“4CastPro excels in multi-level budgeting and consolidation. The six-digit cost centre coding enables users to create a sophisticated hierarchy of cost centres, from the group consolidated budget at the top down to individual departmental budgets.“ ICAEW Review

Business Plan Tutorial

Every management team should know where it is taking the business, and how it is going to get there.
This is the purpose of the business plan.

This tutorial outlines the key issues to consider when putting together a ‘typical’ business plan.
Depending on the scope of your plan, you may need to omit, expand or combine certain sections.

A primary aim of any business plan is to set out the strategy and action plan for the business for the next one to three years (sometimes five years).
It explains your objectives and how you will achieve them.
By involving your employees in the complete planning process, you continue to build up a successful, committed team.

Priorities are identified. Non-priorities are discarded, saving precious time.
Once written the plan is a benchmark for the performance of the business.
The act of writing the plan helps you crystallise and focus ideas, and identify your priorities.

Content of the plan
Base the plan on detailed information where possible. But do not include all the detail in the plan. Leave the detail for operational or marketing plans.

A) Keep the plan short. 

  • Focus on what the reader needs to know. 
  • Cut out any waffle. 
  • Put any substantial information, such as market research, in an appendix. 

Detailed business plans are often quickly shelved, because they are difficult to use on
an ongoing basis.

B) Base your business plan on reality, or it may be counter-productive.

  • Over-optimistic sales forecasts can lead to increased overheads followed by a cashflow crisis and drastic cost-cutting.
  • Be realistic, even if you are selling the business to a third party. 

Financiers, business partners and employees will see through over-optimistic plans that ignore weaknesses or threats. Management credibility can be damaged.

C) Make the plan professional. 

  • Put a cover on it. 
  • Include a contents page, with page and section numbering. 
  • Start with an executive summary.

This summarises the key points, starting with the purpose of the business plan.

  • Use charts, if relevant.

D) Even if the plan is for internal use only, write it as if an outsider was the reader

  • Include company or product literature as an appendix. 
  • Give details about the history and current status of the business. 

Show the plan to friends and expert advisers and ask for comments.
Which parts did they not understand?

Step 1 - Company Information

Download the free trail of 4CastPro

Business Planning Tutorial

Introduction
1 Company Information
2 Business & Objectives
3 Resources
4 SWOT
5 Marketing & Selling
6 Business & Products
7 Assumptions
8 Financial Perfrmance
Cashflow Forecast

Read the ICAEW Review

“4CastPro excels in multi-level budgeting and consolidation. The six-digit cost centre coding enables users to create a sophisticated hierarchy of cost centres, from the group consolidated budget at the top down to individual departmental budgets.“
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