Business writing for entrepreneurs -Part 2

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By Nwaodu Lawrence Chukwuemeka

MON, OCTOBER 17 2016-Continuing from where we stopped – the following are guides and principles to developing a workable business plan:. It’s some hard work but it’s well worth it. It defines and guides the business to an assured destination,  with attendant capacities of attracting funding,  talents, technology and supplies. .

Process Management: this explains who we are and why do we exist?

Where are we going and why? What information do we need to make our strategic decisions? What are the strategic topics, issues we need to address through this process? What is already determined that we need to build off?

Data Needed:: Current plan and financials, Executive and staff ideas about possible mission, vision and values, Board’s vision (if applicable),

External plans that you need to align with, Outcomes/Deliverables.

DRAFT MISSION, VISION, VALUES STATEMENTS –

List of strategic issues that need to be addressed during the planning process

ACTION GRID – Action,  Who is Involved, Tools & Techniques.

Estimated Duration  (A Plan WITHOUT A DATE is NOT A Goal) –

Determine your primary business,

Business model and organizational purpose (mission)

Planning Team (All staff if doing a survey)

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEWS:

Qualitative strategic survey of selected staff or all staff (gather data, review and hold a mini-retreat with Planning Team), Identify your corporate values (values), Planning Team (All staff if doing a survey), Agree on the strategic issues you need to address in the planning process and Create an image of what success would look like in 3-5 years (vision).

Mission Statement:

Mission statement – this part of your strategy development is your core purpose, the underlying “why” you are climbing the mountain, why you are in business. A mission statement is a declaration of your organisation’s purpose and spotlights the business you are presently in and the customer/constituent needs you are presently endeavoring to meet. To build a solid foundation for a successful organisation, it is essential to have a written, clear, concise and consistent mission statement that simply explains who you are and why you exist. Keep it short – Peter Drucker would say YOUR MISSION SHOULD FIT ON A T-SHIRT.

Your mission statement should serve as a guide for day-to-day operations and as the foundation for future decision-making. Keep these guidelines in mind when writing or evaluating yours:

Focuses on satisfying customer/constituent needs: A mission statement should focus the organisation on satisfying customer/constituent needs rather than on a program or service. It tells “who” your customer/constituents are, “what” needs your organisation wishes to satisfy and “how” these needs are satisfied. Based on your core competencies: Your organisation should base its mission on a competitively superior internal strength, unique capability or resource that the organisation performs well in comparison to similar organisations. It should motivate and inspire stakeholder commitment:

Your mission statement should be motivating. Your stakeholders need to feel that their work is significant and that it contributes to people’s lives. Your mission statement should be realistic. You should avoid making the mission too narrow or too broad. Specific, short, sharply focused and memorable: It should be a precise statement of purpose that describes the essence of the organisation in words, that your constituents and stakeholders can remember you by. It should “fit on a T-shirt.”

For example  – “To serve the most vulnerable.” = (International Red Cross)

Clear and easily understood: Develop and write your mission statement on a “party level” (i.e. simple and clearly) so that you can quickly and briefly tell people you meet at a party or on airplanes why your organisation exists. At the same time it needs to give your team a profoundly simple focus for everything it does as an organisation.

Now after Vision and Strategy, of course after the executive summary, would come –

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION: this sounds easy right? But I tell you beyond funding and access ro capital and the rest of the other challenges startups complains about, the ability to communicate effectively their ideas and strategies are the most impediment startups have in their run up to business development and success. Because if you can communicate effectively what you are doing and where you are going with it, armed with the proposals you have in hand, funding will naturally flow in and the level of market believability will increase and you will start securing deals and contracts. Then in no time you will be up there.

What do you think are the various channels of business communication and how do you think it impacts the market and the product.

Writing a Description for a Business Plan: (Business Description) – This is like a short business plan, use it to explain your passion for and knowledge of your field.

A business description is just one key element of a full business plan. This section sometimes comes directly after the executive summary in your business plan outline. The length of a common business description ranges from a few paragraphs to several pages. It is like a short capsule of data that the reader will use to learn more about the business idea before continuing through the written plan.

Step 1

Provide basic data about the business first, including the business name, location and name of owner. Identify the general business type, such as retail, wholesale or service, as well as your chosen business structure: full proprietorship, partnership or corporation.

Step 2

Enter a short history of your business, even if it is just a description of how you came up with the idea, to give the reader background knowledge about you and your new company.

Step 3

Write the company mission statement. This describes your main purpose for starting the business.

Step 4

List details about the industry you have chosen. Include information about the present business atmosphere and future opportunities in the industry that make your business concept even more viable.

Step 5

Discuss the specific product or service that you plan to sell briefly. Describe why you have a competitive edge over other similar offerings.

Step 6

Provide information about your short- and long-term goals related to this business idea. For instance, a short-term goal is to secure financing this year to support the business. A long-term goal is to achieve revenues exceeding N200 million within 10 years.

We would continue with this article next week as we discuss further, however you can contact me for business advisory services and training – send me a message via WhatsApp or SMS..

 Nwaodu Lawrence Chukwuemeka (Ideas Exchange Consulting). nwaodu.lawrence@hotmail.co.uk  (07066375847).

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