A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business objectives, the reasons they are believed to be attainable, and what needs to be done for reaching those objectives.
Whilst business plans are usually accompanied by financial statements, they may also target non-fiscal objectives, for example changes in branding and perceptions by customers or clients, or attention to a new market for products or services.
Why have a formal business planning process?
Essentially a business plan seeks to improve upon a less formal set of instructions, suggestions or even wishes of the owners of a business. It may also contain background information about the organisation or team attempting to reach the planned objectives. In that case the plan also seeks to convince others, for example banks or investors, that success will be achieved.
For many the idea of drafting a business plan simply does not arise. Some might see such a statement of business details as a potentially dangerous breach of confidentiality – by providing a comprehensive source of their business interests. Others might assume that existing informality or, at the other extreme, dictatorial direction, will be sufficient to manage a business through market variations and change.
Indeed the only constant in business is change. Yet change is a most difficult management task and the planning process is about setting objectives of how a business should be changed.
Some psychological studies assert that a formal plan is the first step towards achieving change and securing an objective:
- By writing down an idea and scheduling its implementation, there is close to 50% probability of it becoming a reality.
- If the implementation is broken down into steps that are captured in writing, the probability of being successful goes up to 70%.
- Adding a date to each step raises this idea’s chance of becoming real by up to 95%.
This suggests that a formal plan can clear the path for even the most unpredictable and seemingly impossible projects. This general principle also applies to the mystery of business development process
In our experience business owners generally have strong views about objectives. They can be convinced that the business needs to be changed. However it is the process of change that represents the main area where clients might need support.
How can we help?
Clients can draw upon a wealth of experience of the core business products and services. They will feel well disposed to plan for changes. They may consider a successful development in one country can provide a plan for another.
We can assist in preparing plans and get involved in their implementation. This comes from our experience of business operations and interests in many countries, and from involvement as consultants in changes across many situations.
Support from a “Mentor”
In particular we have applied the term “mentoring” to our experience in helping clients to develop their business plans.
By definition a mentor is involved in a personal development relationship where his possession of more experience, or more knowledge, is used to guide a less experienced, or less knowledgeable, person.
We have applied this concept to international clients that seek to operate from the UK. It is no reflection on our client’s ability that they may not know the UK and its laws and business systems. More importantly clients simply may not be aware of the services available to them from the UK. They similarly may not be aware of some business practices which are normally exercised in the UK but may not be used in other countries.
What we describe as a mentor introduces the idea of our clients having UK support to their interests from our UK face and from our advice when they need it. The overall objective is simply to leave a client to run their business development plans. The concept is available from us through mentor directors.
We understand different business cultures and how they relate to the UK. It also demands an active role and a mentor director is best placed to provide a convincing UK face to a client’s interests.
Business Process Outsourcing
Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) is about hiring us or another company to handle business activities for you. It provides an alternative to your investment in people and infrastructure, to avoid distraction from your core business interests, and to enhance your image of operating from the UK.
Where non-core processes are involved in a development plan then BPO can offer a similar alternative to distraction.