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The Business Plan is your Strategy

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A quality business plan addresses certain issues. It makes little difference how big the company is. The main topics are identical no matter what the intended use of the plan is or who the target audience is or what the nature of the market may be.

The details may differ and additional areas may be appended. But the five key strategy issues - the futuristic modeling to serve as a corporate roadmap will always comprise the bulk of the attention.

Five general areas for Strategy Development are always present in a Business Plan.

The Five Strategy Hot Buttons of a Business Plan

Strategy development is more important today than ever before. Globalization expands the numbers of competitors as geographic barriers become less significant. The internet and super-computers in the form of present day PCs bring sophistication, customized software packages and spreadsheet productivity to the workplace at affordable costs.

The main strategies for companies lie in five general areas. It is here that management can address most of the major obstacles and opportunities ahead. Defining these areas comprise the backbone of a future-oriented decision making process that is essential to developing an effective business plan.

Each of these strategy areas are inter-related with each other. It is absolutely necessary that each strategy be consistent with each other strategy. The five major strategy categories are:

- Market strategy , including search engine marketing for website firms;

- Production strategy ( for businesses offering products for sale ) and / or Service strategy;

- Research and development strategy;

- Organizational and managerial strategy;

- Financial strategy;

Top Down or Bottom Up Business Plan?

Is it best for the business plan strategy development to be performed by top management - and then left for lower levels to document and fill in the gaps? Or should lower levels develop the business plan and the strategy components for presentation to and approval by top management?

The answer usually includes a little of both. The general business plan should be a product reflecting the direction and priorities for the coming year. The individual strategy developing should come from those closest to the situation. Sales and marketing head up Market Strategy, Production and Purchasing handle Production Strategy, R&D Strategy from Product Development, Organization and Management from HR, and Accounting and Finance specializing in the Financial Strategy.

Let people be creative. Give credit to contributors. Promote ideas and brain-storming sessions. Management can always redirect the efforts or introduce their own thoughts. It is essential that everyone buys into the plan and makes it their own.

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