As we head swiftly towards the new financial year, you may well be thinking about what the key focus elements for your business are going to be? Whether you are an established business or a start-up business, the best way to set out this direction for your company is via a strategic business plan.
Strategic Business plans are not always at the top of the to-do list – particularly for companies working within the life science industry who will always have more seemingly pressing tasks to address such as collaborations or R&D projects so they can bring their latest product or technological advancement to market.
Often, they are either not done at all, or are ‘bashed out’ to help complete a section of a grant application, but most commonly they are placed within a draw never to see the light of day once written. Unfortunately, business plans are seen as a chore rather than a great opportunity for a business to take a moment to review where the business currently is, where it wants to be, and the steps it needs to take to get there. In Pivotal Scientific’s experience, most companies require a short document omitting the ‘corporate jargon’ making it an accessible tool for all members of staff.
With the new financial year only months away, we want to share the key headings that your business plan should include to help you get started. The plan is one of the tools used to drive your business forward whilst taking resources, competitors, and environmental stimuli into consideration. Now is a great time to start work on this documentation so it is ready for sign-off along with your financial budgets. Once signed off the next step will be to schedule review meetings (once a quarter is recommended) so the document does not sit dormant but is referred to and acted upon.
Why should you write a business plan?
- The plan will set out your strategy and action plan for the coming years.
- It will define your objectives and how to achieve them.
- Writing the plan will help the business develop ideas and prioritise these ideas.
- Your business plan then can become the benchmark for the performance of the business.
- A business plan is essential if you are looking for outside investors (Growth Strategies).
What should the plan include?
A Strategic Business plan is comprised of three parts: Vision, Goals, and Initiatives: Vision describes who the customers are, what customers need, and how you plan to deliver a unique offering. should include the following:
- Executive summary.
- Company overview (Market, Headcount, Structure, Turnover etc).
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats).
- Marketing & sales objectives.
- Marketing review & plan (all digital channels).
- Competitor review.
- Channel review (distributors, OEM, direct & inside sales).
- Team (Resource available to execute the plan)
- Financial forecasts and assumptions
Who should write your business plan?
We recommend getting everyone involved where possible. You could, for example, ask each team to complete a SWOT analysis for your business. This way you will get a true representation of the opportunities or threats that are presented in each department. Once the ideas have been collated and the plan has been written it is recommended that an independent consultant reviews the document to ensure that it has a realistic direction with no biased tendencies. Alternatively, Pivotal Scientific can offer an external business plan writing service, utilising the team’s industry insight and hands-on experience. To date we have written many business plans for different companies which have focused on investment plans, growth plans as well as standard business plans.