We all know that building any structure starts with a solid foundation. The same is true of your business plan. The foundation for your business plan is your BUSINESS PLAN SUMMARY.
Your plan summary contains five important pieces of information. The rest of your plan extends from this foundation and is easier to assemble when you have this document clearly written.
The five pieces of your summary are:
- Your Unique Business Proposition – what makes your company special, unique and different?
- The Purpose of your business – Why does your company exist, as seen from the customer’s perspective? At a fundamental level, what value or benefit does your company create for your customers?
- Your Destination – Your longer term goals, your picture of success 3 years from now.
- Your One Year Goals – Desired outcomes in the next 12 months?
- Your Strategy – In broad terms, how you will achieve these results?
Let’s look at the first two points on this list.
Unique business proposition: In a couple of sentences, describe what makes your business unique, special and different. This can usually be found in:
What you do.
How you do it.
Where you do it.
Who you are.
When you write this information down and begin discussing it with your leadership team, it will lead to crystallizing these ideas. (Tip: Always good to check with your customers for their perspective on this).
Becoming clearer about what makes your business unique will guide the future direction of your business and provide a reference for key strategic decisions as you grow into the future
Why does your company exist, as seen from the customer’s perspective?
Every business has a purpose. What is yours?
If your business is building lighthouses, what might your Purpose be?
Something like: “we protect our customers from foundering on hidden perils at sea”
Pontish Yeramyan, CEO of Gap International, wrote about being purposeful:
“The 21st Century Organization can also differentiate itself by operating within a bigger context than a vision or mission, something more expansive. It’s not enough anymore to simply have a clear direction – people must be able to throw their entire selves into the game to be successful, with full engagement of heart and mind. We have found that when leaders leverage Purpose, it creates a competitive advantage that’s difficult or even impossible to replicate. Purpose creates the ability for people to care about something much bigger than their personal concerns and fully apply their talent to meaningful endeavours.
If you think about it, Being Purposeful creates the platform for organization success, because it taps into a reservoir of potential energy latent within the organization. When peoples’ orientation to their job transforms from performing work to that of making a difference, they become exponentially more effective at coming together to produce extraordinary results. It becomes possible to consistently produce results beyond what is predictable in the normal flow of business. Powerful strategies can be created and re-created when purpose is present.
Purpose gives people a far more expansive space to create and grow, where creative, purpose-based thinking replaces crisis-based, fire fighting thinking. An organization of people who have connected themselves to something bigger can thrive rather than simply survive –they can move fast together and nimbly adjust strategies and tactics to succeed.”
Once you have draft versions of your Unique Business Proposition and Purpose statement, it’s time to do some goal setting. Move on to sections 3,4,5 of your plan summary.
Here’s the good news, unlike a physical foundation, you can come back and revise these sections of your plan if you aren’t completely satisfied with your initial efforts.