Business planning skills describe your ability to create a roadmap for the success of a business. This ability encompasses documenting the specific details of the business such as the goals and aims that a firm sets, the planned steps towards the achievement of those goals, and the criteria that measures and monitors the firm’s success.
Whether an already established company or a new start-up, business planning is needed everywhere. Any document created in the process that organizes all the data, manages your plans, and communicates them to stakeholders is known as a ‘business plan’.
Why is business planning important
Business planning can be arduous as well as time-consuming but its importance is not debatable in any case. Whether planning an expansion of operations or launch of a new and exciting product, business planning is the necessity of all large and small companies.
Utilizing your skills to come up with a sound business plan requires a lot of research, hence, keeping you well-informed about the true position of your business in the market, relative to competitors. Gathering information for business planning purposes can help you identify any weaknesses and foresee potential threats so that strategies can be developed to deal with problems even before they occur.
The business plan that a company comes up with also serves as a reference point. It helps you determine whether or not you have drifted from your original vision and in case you have, it helps you get back on track. Therefore, starting a business without carefully planning it is like setting off on a journey without a roadmap. It can also serve as a great motivational tool when you review the plan to see how far you have already come.
How to improve business planning skills
Take the following measures to improve your business planning skills:
- Adopt a conservative approach. In all your financial projections and estimates, you must be conservative so that you don’t overpromise the returns to any particular business. For instance, if you are certain that the business will capture 30% of the market share I the first year, you may state is only as an opinion and give reasons for why you believe so. However, in making financial projections, taking only 10% market share into consideration will give much more credible results.
- Emphasize on people as much as ideas and concepts. As good as the business idea may be, it can never be successful enough until you make the acquisition of a strong management team a part of your planning. Venture capitalists as well as individual financiers are much more likely to invest in businesses that not only have a good concept but also a team with good credentials and expertise.
- Support every claim with evidence. Business planning requires making several claims but all those claims must be backed up by proof. Otherwise, you will have no credibility. If you say, for instance, that your staff qualified enough to make the business success, their resumes must reflect it too.