Do you have a business plan? Do you refer to it on a daily basis? Do you need help to nail it?
In this blog I am going to cover:
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written tool that describes your business and projects 3-5 years ahead. It should include your:
- sales forecast
- cash flow forecast
Thinking about writing a business plan can be overwhelming, but I like to think of it as the place to store all the research I have done (and continue to do). Mine is far from pretty or complete. It is a series of working e-documents that I refer to and update frequently.
Why do I need a business plan?
We need a business plan to keep us on track as we start and grow. It makes us think about all the key elements we need to run our business and informs our decisions as we move forward. It does not need to have all the answers.
Who might need to see it?
If you are seeking funding, your lending provider will need to see your plan. If you are applying for grant funding, you will need to forward your sales and cash flow forecasts. We have a sales and cash flow forecast template you can download in the resources section of this website. You can register for free to access it.
When should I compile a business plan?
Now! Every business should have a written plan. So whether you are just starting or have been in business for a while and your original plan is gathering dust, I urge you to start now.
Where should I start?
The best place to start is getting your thoughts onto one piece of paper. Have you heard of the business model canvas? It’s a tool created by Strategyzer. If you click on the image below you will be directed to Strategyzer’s website where you can download it for free.
As you can see, the page is split into nine sections:
- Customer Segments
- Value Proposition
- Customer Relationships
- Revenue Streams
- Key Resources
- Key Activities
- Key Partners
- Cost Structure
This 2 minute video explains how to complete your business model canvas:
Your value proposition is key and will take some time to get right. Your value proposition refers to the value you promise to deliver to customers should they choose to buy your product or services.
Strategyzer has another one-page canvas, specifically to work on your value proposition. If you click on the image below you will be directed to their website where you can download it.
As you can see, the page is split into six sections:
- Customer Jobs
- Products & Services
- Pain Relievers
- Gain Creators
This 3 minute video explains how to complete your value proposition canvas:
When you’ve got your thoughts written down, you can then begin to build on them to create your operational and marketing strategies as well as your sales and cash flow forecasts.
In our resources section we have a a business plan template which you can download.
How can I nail it?
Compiling a business plan is time-consuming and ever-changing as your business grows and pivots. So how can you nail your business plan? By having someone to hold you to account.
That’s where being a member of Rural Business Network can help. If you choose, each month you will be given the opportunity to set a goal you are going to concentrate on the following month (for example, competitor research) and we will email you at an agreed time to ask you how you have got on. We don’t need to see your business plan and we won’t chastise you if you haven’t met your goal. What we do know is that if you know someone is going to ask how you got on, you are more than likely to have made a start 😊
What if I’m feeling overwhelmed?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about what direction your business should take. If you are a farmer or farm worker, the Farming Community Network can help you.
The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.
FCN has over 400 volunteers, located throughout England and Wales, many of whom are involved in farming, or have close links with agriculture and therefore have a great understanding of the issues farm workers and farming families regularly face. Our volunteers provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, regardless of whether the issue is personal or business-related.
In addition to local groups of volunteers, FCN runs a confidential national helpline (03000 111 999) and e-helpline (firstname.lastname@example.org) which is open every day of the year from 7am-11pm.
On Thursday 17th June at 7.30pm, Martyn Johnson, County Coordinator for Northumberland and Durham will explain to members just how FCN can support us through difficult times. Join Rural Business Network now to access this event.