Frequently confronted with the argument that you don’t have time to plan, we don’t believe this for a moment.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, every day. This is not to say you aren’t busy, it’s to say that we know if you make time for planning, it is time well spent and invested. We challenge you to implement the practice of planning.

We adhere to the principle that there is power, or “magic”, in the act of writing our plans down. The magic is the clarity the act of planning provides and the “aha” experiences you have when you write your plans, you give them life. Running your business from a plan is a shift from a passive to active stance for your business.

We named ourselves Plan Genie because we know we all have those “3 wishes” for our business and while we can’t grant wishes, we can help teach and support you to make your own wishes come true in your business.

Planning is a catalyst for learning, growth and clarity in every aspect of your life. Why don’t more businesses plan? It’s a mystery.

To use the analogy of a grocery list. While a business plan is more complicated than a weekly shopping list, it is in essence the same principle and not that much more difficult to get into the habit of. How much more effectively do you use your time when you go to the store with a list. When you have a current written plan you start to see what’s both working and not working in your business. You get grounded and inspired.

Now, while we have so much uncertainty is a good time to get back to the basics of planning.


Plan Genie, is first and foremost, an on-line tool to assist you in writing a narrative business plan for your business. But is more than that.

Plan Genie is a Universal Business Practices Template supported with audio Coaching Modules that:

  • makes business planning accessible and affordable for any business, and
  • provides a framework and foundation to expand  business knowledge over time.

Our purpose at Plan Genie is to help you:

  • Get your business under control and keep it that way
  • And in the process, Achieve more balance in your life and Enjoy enduring success

Our format and workbooks were created through many years of simplifying and refining core business principles and best practices.

Plan Genie will help you quickly and efficiently write a narrative business plan for your company, and to refresh your plan on a regularly scheduled basis.

As you revise your business plan each quarter, you and your employees will gain a greater understanding of your core business and broaden your knowledge of effective business practices.

This instruction audio has eight segments so you can work at your own pace , and refer to the corresponding segments as you get to them in the workbook.

The first three audio segments  will give you an overview of the planning process and our 4 Step Method for writing your business plan.

The next 4 modules will take you through the 4 steps and the final segment deals with tracking your progress and refreshing your plan on a continuous basis.

I believe, and few people  will argue,  that a business plan is the “foundation” for a successful business, yet the majority of business leaders fail at this important responsibility. The latest figures I’ve seen suggest that fewer than 20% of small to mid size companies have a written business plan that is reviewed on a regular basis.

So why is that?

Here’s what I’ve observed after 25 years running my own companies, and helping other business owners succeed with theirs.

I find that new, or  early stage, company owners rush into their business with energy and enthusiasm, and lack the patience to take the time to put their plans on paper – so much to do, so little time. Once the basic business model is flushed out, their energy is applied to launching the business, and getting sales to pay their bills.

Then, as companies grow and mature they learn to “survive” without a plan – so why bother. They struggle and  survive, but they don’t really prosper.

Others have tried to work from a plan, but don’t have the commitment to stick with it, or find that the format they used was awkward or confusing, and didn’t really help them focus on specific action steps and priorities. This leads to the conclusion that business plans don’t work.

And, finally,

many business owners simply don’t know how to create a written plan – they have not been able to find a clear, easy to understand format that makes sense for their business and a process to keep it fresh and moving forward.

Cost can also be a huge deterrent. The fee for consultants combined with staff meeting costs, off site facilities can easily run in the $20 – 30 k range

Plan Genie provides a format that is clear, logical, easy to understand and readily tailored to any business, large or small, early stage or mature. Our Workbook  takes the drudgery out of the task and  focuses the efforts of everyone  involved, including:

  • Company owners and leadership teams
  • Your Employees
  • Business Partners and alliances
  • Investors

This is a practical, no nonsense, system that delivers results every time.

As you go through the workbook, you will  gain a deeper understanding of your business, which is critical to inspiring employees and engaging them in a journey toward mutual success.

You will also discover untapped potential of your business, to go beyond mere survival to prosperity.

And, most importantly,

A well managed business plan will put you back in control of your business.

With clarity and control comes peace of mind, not only for the owner and leadership team, but for all employees.

That feeling, throughout the whole organization, of knowing where you are, where you’re going, how you are gong to get there, and how each individual can contribute on a personal level.

Your business plan is the foundation on which to build a successful business and, at the same time, maintain a healthy  lifestyle, and keep your sanity.

This audio recording will guide you through the Business Plan Workbook

You can write your Business Plan, either on your own, or with the appropriate contribution from your employees.  The Workbook breaks the task into bite sized, logical steps and results in a  Working Business Plan  that is easy to understand at all levels of the company,

And it doesn’t require a significant investment in off site work. It can be completed in a few short, 2 or 3 hour sessions, scheduled into the regular routine for any business. You can complete your plan in a few days of focussed effort, or spread the work out over a period of a few months. We actually recommend the latter approach if you don’t have a hard deadline in front of you.

The format can be tailored to any size of business or types of business, including non profit organizations and will work at any stage of the business life cycle.

In today’s coaching session I would like to talk about Your Products and Services, and your Customers,  the first two items in Step 3 of your business plan –

Step 3 is what we call the “building blocks” of your business plan. In order to plan ahead, it’s important to be clear where you are now, so let’s make sure we have a clear understanding of what we are selling and who is our ideal customer.

This can get a little confusing and there are a few differences if you are in the Business to Business market or the Business to Consumer market. I will address this topic today using the Business to Business context.

The ideas are equally applicable to the Business to Consumer world, the main difference is that Business to Consumer companies tend to have higher numbers – more products and services and more customers. So keeping track of these details can be a bit more challenging, but the principal is the same

It’s helpful to talk about these two topics together- what you are selling and who you are selling to, are obviously interrelated.  However, to simplify the task, we separate the two ideas, then think about the changes you want to make to either or both, going forward.

As with all the other parts of your plan, it’s important to continuously clarify What you are selling and Who you are selling to

The intent here is to ensure you are offering  products or services that  are truly NEEDED by your customers,  and also  to keep you focused on the most important clients, the ones  most likely to buy, and the most profitable to your business

In the B2B world it is common for companies to sell through agents or distributors as well as directly to the end user. If that is true in your case we recommend that in  this section of your business plan you think of your customer as the end user. The next section on Partners and Alliances is set up to capture information about your relationships with agents, distributors, and suppliers (if, for example,  you are selling products manufactured by others)

I’ll use Plan Genie as an example of what this section of your plan could look like.

Let’s start with PG Products and Services:

Here at PG, we have only 2 products we sell, the basic PG web based work book and our White Label version of PG, which we sell to organizations.

Our current fee schedule includes a an annual  license fee and a renewal fee.

Our business is fairly simple to describe –  we have two products and a simple fee schedule. Yours may be more complex than that.

Now that we have a clear picture of our products and services, let’s turn our mind to who we are selling to, a description of our customers

Again, I will use PG as an example of how to approach this

Our ideal client looks something like this:

A company or an individual that

  1. Has recognized the need for an ongoing, working business plan
  2. Is ready to invest the time and money in this work, if they can find the right product
  3. Wants to learn more about running a successful business
  4. May want to do it themselves, or open to invest in a coach/consultant to help
  5. May have tried to write a BP in the past, but were not happy with the result
  6. Understand the need to work “on” their business as well as “in” their business to enjoy long term success and satisfaction
  7. Sincerely want to improve the communication with their employees and other stakeholders
  8. English speakers only
  9. Unlimited by geographic location since the product is web based

Few new prospects will tick all these boxes but if they meet even 2 or three of these criteria they are viable future customers and worth spending time on.

So, that is a quick look at describing a target customer for your busines. Getting clear about your target customers impacts so many things about your business, from your marketing plan to future growth opportunities.

I’d like to make a comment  about secondary markets:

In our business we are also looking for prospects that meet criteria for our Secondary Market

We define our Secondary market as:

  • Companies, organizations that are required to prepare and update a business plan as part of a contractual agreement with a parent company or business partner
  • And may have some of the attributes mentioned above

An example of a prospect in this secondary category is someone who has a loan condition or lease agreement that requires a written business plan be submitted at least annually

And we have yet another set of criteria to describe our target customer for our white label product.

(For our White Label product, we have defined 6 broad market sectors that are.

  1. Industry Associations
  2. Business consultants/Coaches
  3. Franchisors/Independent Professional Sales Organizations
  4. Accounting/legal Firms
  5. Lending organizations
  6. Business Trainers, educators

Then, within these sectors we are looking for those organizations that:

  • Believe their client base will benefit from working form a written plan
  • Offer educational support and other business tools to their clients)

As you can see, this work can get fairly detailed as you drill down and think through these questions. You may want to do some of this work off line using a spread sheet or other formats and bring the summary information back to your business plan.

As you work on your business plan over time, you will get clearer about these two concepts and it will cause you to be more proactive in making changes to your product lines, in tune with your customers’ changing needs. This baseline information is the starting point for innovation, your key to long term success.

By the way, this is a great place to involve your employees, once you have a draft document started.

Good luck and let us know if you need any help along the way

The purpose of an organization structure diagram is to clarify areas of decision making, responsibility, reporting lines, and assist communication throughout the company. It is intended to help all employees understand how they can best contribute to the overall company goals.

Each individual will typically have primary responsibilities in their area of expertise, however, it is important to be able to respond to changing priorities and contribute to other areas as needed. For example, everyone in the company can be unofficial marketing and sales agents for the company, although that may not be their primary area of responsibility. Similarly, all employees are responsible for ensuring you meet your customer service promises.

Most private sector companies are organized around four business areas: Marketing, Sales, Operations/Customer Service, Finance and Administration. Your organization structure may vary depending on the size and type of business.

In small companies, individuals may wear several hats, and need to jump from the role of President, to Sales Manager to Parts Delivery (Ops staff) all in the course of a day. Your Organization diagram will help you be more aware of these changing roles and help you plan recruiting priorities as your company grows.

Technology: All activities, processes, tools related to advancing the company’s capability via technology support systems.

This list of action plans may include items such as:

  • Review and assess performance of all partners, track KPI’s (key performance indicators) for easy assessment
  • Schedule 90 day, repeating meetings, with all high performing partners to develop joint marketing plan
  • Create new marketing plans to find and attract new partners and alliances
  • Research who are the key influences in our markets and make contact

Join us for a planning lesson to learn this core business skill before you start your plan.

The Plan Genie 4 Step model provides the tools to write your plan. Before you begin, it’s important to consider the planning process you intend to follow and decide how and when to involve your executive team, partners, and your employees.

Planning is best done in collaboration with others. Please watch this video on the planning process before getting started on your plan.