The best guidance on this topic can be found in an article entitled, "Are Your Prepared to Succeed in Business" from the Biz Info Library.
The article can be downloaded in its entirety free of charge at the second, vertical Box Net "References" cube in the left margin of this resource ....
Here is an excerpt .....
"How should you plan strategically? First of all, a distinction must be made. Business planning and strategic planning are not one and the same.
A good strategic plan will cover all areas of business, focusing on ....
Why a particular market, product, or service makes sense.
How a business might unfold and how its industry will react to it.
A good business plan will incorporate strategic thinking and planning emphasizing:
What the business will do.
How and when the business will deploy resources to generate revenues and profits."
I've seen a lot of businesses large and small with BAD or neglected strategies, but most people try and have some kind of overall plan.....
You need to have the standard approach:
- Market and Competition Analysis
- Overall strategic approach
- Implementation management plan (inc. sales and marketing)
Very standard, loads of templates around to download.
A Business Plan should be a "living document" in the sense of an interactive set of documents or even emails or intra-sites that let the plan evolve over time. It must NOT be a static document, written by a consultant and parked on a shelf and forgotten. The management plan needs to link directly to budgeting and into accounts in order that strategy and what follows is amended by interaction with real results.
Remember, "winging it" leads you straight down the tube ........