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preparing to plan a business

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BAC 121
Serge Coulombe

Preparing a Business Plan A business plan has to be particular to the organisation in question, its situation and time. However, a business plan is not just a document, to be produced and filed. Business planning is a continuous process. The business plan has to be a living document, constantly in use to monitor, control and guide the progress of a business. That means it should be under regular review and will need to be amended in line with changing circumstances. Before preparing the plan management should: - review previous business plans (if any) and their outcome. This review will help highlight which areas of the business have proved difficult to forecast historically. For example, are sales difficult to estimate? If so why? - be very clear as to their objectives - a business plan must have a purpose - set out the key business assumptions on which their plans will be based (e.g. inflation, exchange rates, market growth, competitive pressures, etc.) - take a critical look at their business. The classical way is by means of the strengths- weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis, which identifies the business's situation from four key angles. The strategies adopted by a business will be largely based on the outcome of this analysis. Preparing the Budget A typical business plan looks up to three years forward and it is normal for the first year of the plan to be set out in considerable detail. This one-year plan, or budget, will be prepared in such a way that progress can be regularly monitored (usually monthly) by checking the variance between the actual performance and the budget, which will be phased to take account of seasonal variations. The budget will show financial figures (cash, profit/loss working capital, etc) and also non- financial items such as personnel numbers, output, order book, etc. Budgets can be produced for units, departments and products as well as for the total organisation. Budgets for the forthcoming period are usually produced before the end
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