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Business Planning Tips

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A simple way to think of a business plan is: a written summary of what we hope to accomplish and how we intend to organize our resources to meet our goals. It is a road map of where we want to go in the business, what routes we plan to take, mile markers (measures and milestones) along the way, and a clear view of our destination (so we’ll recognize it when we get there).

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Your one-page strategic plan begins with conducting a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – on your business. Identify five things your company is really good at (Strengths), five things that need improvement (Weaknesses), five areas if you execute really well will enable you to exceed your plan (Opportunities) and five challenges that may prevent you from achieving your plan (Threats).

Next, identify the Core Values of your company. These are five to 10 statements, words or phrases that define how your company operates, conducts business or defines your culture.

The third activity in your planning process is to define your business’ reason for being or its purpose. You identify this by answering the following types of questions: ‘Why are we doing what we are doing?’ ‘What’s the reason we chose to be in this business?’ ‘What makes me passionate about this business or industry?’

Finally, define your BHAG. This term is from Jim Collin’s book, “Built to Last” and stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This is the lofty 10 to 25 year goal you would like your business to achieve. Achieving this goal would make your business a legend in your industry and serve as a source of inspiration for your team. Really take your time in defining your BHAG and be sure it serves to stretch your boundaries.

Happy planning!

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