Business Planning

Everyone has a plan for their business. For many owners, the plan is just in their head. Few businesses prepare a formal business plan unless they are forced to, usually to raise money. If you need to do that, I can help.

A formal business plan is just a budget with words. For a detailed, professional plan – suitable to submit to a professional investor – the “budget” is an integrated financial model. It includes forecasts for Profit & Loss, Cash Flow and Balance Sheets. It quantifies all the key assumptions and can use them – and their likely variability – to estimate the risk inherent in the result, usually the rates of return on funds invested (or to be invested) in the business.

The text of the business plan simply describes the business and the results of the model. It should be a comprehensive but brief document – practical, believable and compelling. It must demonstrate a good understanding of the audience to whom it is directed.

Many professional investors are ill-informed, often arrogant, with little real practical understanding of business. The venture capital industry has been the weak point in the commercialisation of innovation in Australia since the 1980s. You need a good business plan to “sup with the devil”. You also need a sound plan to manage and control your business.

I have  been a business plan consultant since 1983. In that time I have worked with some great Aussie entrepreneurs from whom I learnt a great deal about how business works, and should work. I developed a rigorous methodology for business planning. It is outlined in my book, “Planning to Win – a guide to business planning and financial modelling” – see Planning to Win

My business planning services include writing business plans for SMEs, especially business plans for raising venture capital; general help with business plans and business planning; and writing business proposals for other purposes

Raising Risk Capital

Business Plans which have raised risk capital totalling more than $20 million include:

“The functions of management are planning, organisation and control.”
Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management, 1954
“No one plans to fail; many simply fail to plan.”
Anon
“If you can’t explain your physics to a barmaid, it is probably not very good physics.”
Lord Rutherford
Strategy, tactics: “Etymologically, strategy is generalship, and tactics is array, and the modern antithesis retains as closely as could be expected the original difference.”
The Concise Oxford Dictionary
“[In sport] strategy is the game plan, devised by the coach … Tactics is the prerogative of the captain – to kick or not to kick …”
Gordon Pender, Planning to Win
“It is venture capitalists who have stymied the commercialisation of innovation in Australia.”
Gordon Pender, Eco Investor Magazine, June 2003
“Excellence is the best way to ameliorate risks.”
Gordon Pender, Planning to Win
Jargon: “Avoid the use of jargon. It makes things hard to understand. It often masks ignorance. ‘Synergy’ means sharing costs.”
Gordon Pender, various lectures
“Three things cometh not back: the sped arrow; the spoken word; and the lost opportunity.”
Anon, (attributed with ‘four things’ to Aiki Flinthart, The Yu Dragon)