In this final article of the Business Plan Guide series, you will get to learn about competitive advantage, ask yourself questions about the competition, your team and also your financials.
What is your strategy for competition?
Who are your current competitors? Who are your potential competitors?
What are your competitors’ strategies, and where are they most vulnerable?
Which of your competitors are successful? Which are less successful? How do these companies’ strategies differ? Which competitors’ strategies do you hope to utilise within your own business?
Competitive Strength Grid
Consider the assets and skills utilised by your competitors, in a ranking from strong-to-weak. Consider skills and assets across product, distribution, pricing, promotion, and advertising.
Identify your own competitive advantage in comparison and relationship with your competitors along the variety of topics, assets, and skills.
Design and Development Plan:
What are the technical goals that support product development?
What are your marketing goals that support product development?
What are your organizational goals that support product development?
What are your set procedures for how resources will be allocated?
What steps must be followed to allow your company to sell product or services to clients?
Who is responsible for achieving each goal?
What are your procedures for how your employees will interact? How will your employees interact with clients? How will your team communicate within the office?
What are your timelines for development?
At what points will you review your product development?
Scheduling and Costs:
What expenses are necessary to design the product and move it from prototype to production? Raw material procurement, direct labour costs, overhead expenses, executive and administrative costs, marketing and sales expenses, professional service contracting, unexpected or miscellaneous costs, procurement of capital equipment, etc.
What are the necessary skills to be competitive in your discipline? What skills does your company already possess? (Module 6)
In what areas are additional skills required?
Operations and Management: How will the business function on a continuing basis?
How does the management share or divide responsibilities? (Module 06)
How are tasks assigned to divisions within the company? (Module 06)
What are your operating expenses? (Module 04)
What capital expenditures are required? (Module 04)
How will the cost of goods vary over time? (Module 04)
Who is responsible for marketing, sales, customer relations, and customer service? (Module 06)
Who is responsible for production and quality assurance? (Module 06)
Who is responsible for research and development? (Module 06)
Who is responsible for company administration? (Module 06)
Write a broad list of tasks
Organise tasks by departments, with clear communication between management and their teams
What type of individuals must staff these tasks?
How will each task generate revenue?
Update the cash flow document
Include an analysis statement overseeing the cash flow document and key points that you think require additional information.
While working through this process, remember to consider the following:
Number of employees: Consider how many customers you have (C) and the number of customers who can be served by each employee (S), in order to determine personnel requirements (P), combined into the equation C / S = P
Labour expenses: use personnel requirements (P) from previous question, and the salary level of employees (SL) to determine labour (LE), using the equation P * SL = LE
What are your fixed expenses (those that are paid at the same rate regardless of sales)?
What are your variable expenses (those that change based off of levels of business)?
What are the major capital expenses necessary?
How many customers do these capital expenses support?
Based off of growth projections, how many additional capital expenses will be necessary in following years?
How much do you expect these capital expenses to depreciate in value?
Cost of Goods
What is the cost to manufacture?
What percentage of units will be sold?
What percentage of units is in production at any one moment?
What percentage of units is in inventory (storage) at any one moment?
We hope that you have answered all the questions and from there, you can fine tune your business plan.