How do I develop a strategy, and a business plan?

Understanding the Basics of Business Strategy and Planning

Hi, Finnegan here. I know the topic we are diving into today can be a tad intimidating. Business strategy and planning! – It's like trying to make sense of the coffee machine for the first time. But don't let the complicated terms and intricate details spook you. A business strategy, ultimately, is like your favorite video game strategy. You identify your goals (which in this case, is probably winning the game), figure out your resources, and then devise a detailed plan on deploying those resources effectively for achieving the ultimate goal. Similarly, a business strategy and plan help to align the objectives, resources, and actions of your business.

Your Business Purpose and Objective

Remember when you were a kid and you used to play that game where you create your imaginary kingdom? You had a clear objective in mind. Perhaps you wanted to create the most prosperous kingdom, or maybe you wanted to have an army so strong no one would dare to mess with you. You always had an objective, and it is the same with businesses. Your business story may not be as cool as ruling an imaginary kingdom, but it's essential to identify your business purpose and objective. What does your business exist for? What mission are you out there to accomplish?

Survey Your Business Landscape

Once you've decided on the heart of your venture – its purpose – the next big step is to look around. You need a thorough understanding of the terrain you're about to navigate. And by terrain, in business lingo, I mean the market. My old man used to tell me, "Finnegan, if you don't know what's in the jungle, you're as good as dinner for the tiger." In the same vein, knowing your market will help you understand what your customers want, what competitors are offering, and what unique value you can bring to the table.

Developing Your Business Strategy

This is it. After all your groundwork, you are now ready to build that crowning jewel- your strategy. Picture this part of the process as the game plan you develop to win your favorite board game. You need to analyze your resources, the market, competition and then devise a detailed plan on deploying those resources effectively to achieve your ultimate goal. If you're wondering how to go about it, think about it this way – if you were to conquer a castle, would you attack head-on or resort to a craftier approach like building a secret tunnel. Then, suppose you chose the tunnel, you'd strategise further. How deep and long should it be? Who would dig it? When to begin? Similarly, you'd strategize each aspect of your business like product development, your sales tactics, marketing and advertising, and every other vital detail.

Creating Your Comprehensive Business Plan

Now that you have your strategy or game plan ready, it’s time to put it into words. Your strategy provides the overall direction, but a business plan breaks it down into smaller, executable chunks. It’s like an artist’s sketch before the final painting, or a movie's storyboard. Your business plan is a blueprint guiding your business. It provides details about your business objectives, strategies, marketing and sales plans, and financial predictions. I find writing a business plan not very different from writing a recipe for your favorite dish. You have all the ingredients (elements of your business), and now you're detailing how to combine them to create something wonderful!

Budget Assumptions and Financial Forecasts

The financial section of your business plan is not just about numbers. It's where the rubber meets the road. You know how in an adventure movie, the hero calculates the risks before a daring stunt? That's precisely what your financial section does. It includes budget assumptions, financial forecasts, and potential risks, which are essential because they provide a reality check on your grand business plan. They detail your financial commitments and help you stay focused on your financial goals.

Monitoring Your Headway

So, you’ve created your elaborate business strategy and plan, you’ve executed them, and your venture is up and running. But this is not the end. You need to continuously monitor your progress. It's like when you bake a cake, you periodically check to make sure it's rising well, and not burning. You do the same with your business performance because only then, can you stay on your path to success.

Remember folks, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is any successful business. It takes tireless effort, patience, and persistence. But most importantly, it takes a robust strategy and plan. So whether it's world dominance or a business breakthrough you're after, remember to strategise and plan meticulously. As they say, victory loves careful preparation!

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