Once your organisation has completed its strategic plan and the board has approved it, the next step is for management and the board to ensure that there is a good business plan in place. A strategic plan indicates and illustrates where the organisation is headed, and the business plan describes how the organisation will implement its strategies. The benefits of a comprehensive business plan include:
- Giving clear direction to the future of the business;
- Enabling the organisation to identify opportunities;
- Guiding the organisation to set clear and realistic strategic goals and objectives;
- Allowing the organisation to work towards sustainability and increased profitability
In addition to these benefits, a well-developed business plan aligns the management team towards a set of common goals, forcing the team to focus on the organisation’s feasibility; it becomes the document that markets and sells the organisation.
Essential elements of a well-developed business plan
We’ve uploaded a ‘Business Plan Table of Contents’ template for you to use on our website here.
Start with a clear and concise executive summary of your organisation (maximum one page) and list all the important aspects of your business. Communicate your value proposition. If you are sharing your plan with potential funders/investors, include the amount of money you need and how you plan to use it. You have to understand and outline the bigger picture before you can effectively summarise your core business, so it is a good idea to complete the executive summary after writing the business plan.
- Overview and Description
Clearly describe the type of organisation and its current level of organisational growth. It is key to illustrate your organisation’s uniqueness (e.g. providing palliative care to children). In addition, state clearly what will make your organisation succeed in an environment where other organisations fail.
- Detailed Description of Core Business
Describe the objectives and services your organisation provides. Illustrate the benefits of these services to the community and other stakeholders. It is also important to describe how your services will benefit government-supported initiatives. You must be able to show that your services will make a meaningful contribution to its beneficiaries.
- Strategic Goals and Objectives
Clearly state your organisation’s short (year one), medium (years two-three) and long-term goals (years three and beyond) and objectives, and how these will achieve the mission and vision of the organisation. It is also important to show how targets for goals and objectives will be measured and reported on.
- Marketing and Promotion
Describe who your beneficiaries are, where they are, why they are the beneficiaries, and why they will prefer your services. Your organisation must also describe how it plans to promote its services and how results will be tracked. Funders and supporters must be able to visualise how your programmes will achieve their goals and objectives.
- Organisational Management
Describe how the organisation is managed and briefly explain the experience, skills and expertise of the management team, as it relates to the objectives of the organisation.
- Human Resources
Briefly summarise the number of employees, whether they are full-time or part-time and the skills they add to the team. Also describe key performance areas of these positions and link the key performance areas to the objectives of the organisation. Include average human resources costs.
Describe the cost of services, and more importantly, how much it is worth to the beneficiaries, stakeholders and community. The organisation should also illustrate how it will manage financial risks.
Now that you have an approved strategic and comprehensive business plan, seeking funding for your organisation is easy. Share these two critical documents with potential donors when you meet to ensure that they understand your professionalism, clarity and purpose. This will allow them to easily place your organisation at the top of their list of initiatives to fund.
A|W Management Consulting’s key aim is to support and advise entities on how to become sustainable organisations with good corporate governance and effective human resource management. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.awconsulting.co.za. Remember to like our Facebook page.