Sun, 12 May 2024 Feature Article

Every Entrepreneur Must Use the Smart Decision Toolkit to Come Up with A Compelling and Bankable Business Plan

Every Entrepreneur Must Use the Smart Decision Toolkit to Come Up with A Compelling and Bankable BusinessPlan

A business plan is generally a document showing or detailing the possible future reality or projected financial activities and status which an enterprise would achieve if it had the needed resources or capital.

As such, it is quite often prepared by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding, and thus, they strive to show the target funder what they will do and what they can achieve if given the money or resources which they are looking for.

By preparing this document, entrepreneurs involved know that there is a lot of free-floating money across the world but those who own it want to be convinced on paper that you know what you are talking about and that you have the expertise and strategy to achieve your goals.

If you are smart enough, you can write this document the way you like and it will still be convincing enough to the funders, but to make it easy for all parties involved, there are mutually beneficial standard approaches that have been adopted to act as guidelines in this endeavor.

These guidelines have given rise to business plan templates which are merely checklists of things that you must not forget to include since most financiers consider them to be relevant and important.

Listed below are some of the basic items which you tend to find in several business plan templates: 1) Executive Summary 2) Business Operations 3) Sales and Marketing Strategies 4) SWOT Analysis 5) Financial Projections

The Executive Summary which mostly acts as an introduction in the business plan is generally a brief of the whole document, and it helps with giving the funder an immediate idea of what you intend to do as well as the motivations behind it and the expected outcome.

If your presentation skills are excellent, this summary can strike the funder’s heart in a way that he/she may want to know more regarding what you are talking about and thus can be a password into the funders’ coffers.

Therefore, if people that are preparing the business plan are not good communicators, you need to find someone to help you introduce your idea in an appealing way or else the document will be thrown in the dust bin without looking at other details which might have convinced the funders.

The Business Operations section adds some flesh to the Executive Summary since it gives a glimpse into the enterprise’s mission, vision, organizational structure as well as the target market and products and services to be offered.

Under the Sales and Marketing section, you get to see the business’ perspective of the target market including the detailed segmentation thereof and the approaches that are going to be utilized towards satisfying the needs and wants of the people in that specific community.

The Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat (SWOT) Analysis will then show the opportunities which you see as a business and the endowment of strengths within your team which helps you to effectively and efficiently pursue those opportunities which you have identified.

Under the same section, you also find what are called weaknesses and threats which are merely a list of things that are likely to interfere with the smooth flow of your operations and these include competition or even unfavorable legislations in your specific industry or country.

The Financial Projections part will then call for you to translate all that you were saying above into a mathematical presentation which shows whether you have a practically achievable wish or just a childish fantasy.

N.B: Always remember that financiers, including banks and venture capitalists use statistics (verifiable facts and figures/numbers) in making decisions on which enterprise to invest in or not. As such, in preparing your business plan, you need to dig and sniff for as much relevant information as you can regarding your industry and then appealingly and convincingly present information which shows that the funds will be in good hands.

This is the reason why I always suggest, propose, and recommend that as an entrepreneur looking for funds, you must familiarize yourself with what I call the Smart Decision Toolkit, which is in my book, The Smart Decision Handbook.

The Smart Decision Toolkit uses what I call the Fundamental Congruence Checklist which is basically a set of ten questions that helps you to process information about a certain subject for you to understand it better.

A Fundamental Congruence Checklist seeks to answer critical questions that are important for analysing information towards making informed decisions and taking the right action.

It is a multi-versatile decision-making tool that can be used to gauge the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of anything in life through answering the following ten questions:

1) What is this thing? Who is this person?

2) What does he/she/it do and how? — What are the key result areas or objectives and how are they accomplished?

3) Why does he/she/it do so? — Why are those the key result areas, objective, or purpose?

4) What happens if he/she/it does do not anything or does not perform as expected?

5) Where is this thing or person situated in the whole matrix — what position does he/she/it occupy?

6) Why is he/she/it situated there? — Why is he/she/it occupying that space?

7) What happens if he/she/it is completely removed, moved somewhere, misplaced or even altered?

8) Who is in charge of him/her/it and why? — Who makes he/she/it work as planned?

9) How is his/her/its effectiveness assessed? — How do I or other people know if he/she/it is effective or not?

10) What happens if he/she/it is effective or not — What are the related consequences?

As such, by using this Congruence Checklist, in preparing your business plan, you will be able to quickly and clearly express to the investors what you want to use the funding for.

It also shows that you understand the interconnectedness of several business variables in running your enterprise, and highlights that you have factored in various probabilities and crafted a way to handle or adjust to them.

Investors know that when you don’t ask yourself these ten questions, you are most likely to make impulsive decisions out of hearsay and emotions (excitement) thus leading you to you use their money to do things that are very costly and regrettable.

The ten questions in the Congruence Checklist gives you a broader perspective when you want to make business related decisions since it helps to reveal the probable consequences of one decision on various other aspects of the enterprise.

As such, if you want to start a business or get funding for your existing enterprise, you need to ask yourself these ten questions and then use the answers to fill up or craft a business plan which shows investors that you are quite informed about your trade and its environment.

Listed below are the summary advantages of the Smart Decision Toolkit and thus, you must familiarize yourself with these nuggets and apply the insights thereof in compiling every section of your Bankable Business Plan.

The first three questions on the decision checklist does focus on clarity on the subject matter by shedding light on the definition, purpose and processes associated with whatever you are dealing with.

When compiling a business plan, the focus on these three issues helps with giving assurance or confidence to the investor on the fact that whoever is looking for funding is doing so concerning a business that he/she clearly understands.

Question Four (4) on the checklist helps the funder to see that you understand the fact that despite good intentions, some missions fail, and thus, you have prepared your mind for different outcomes from the beginning and that you have also come up with Plan B or even C.

The fifth, sixth and seventh questions on the checklist has a ‘Pareto’ effect in that it shows the funder that you have evaluated the worthiness of consideration, adoption, and implementation of the strategies you have in hand.

These three questions focus on the assessment of importance. When you answer these questions, you will be able to understand if whatever you are dealing with is worth your time, money, energy, and resources.

Question Eight (8) seeks to identify a person or group of people who are responsible for the utilization and management of the funds once granted, and also shows us the individuals that are tasked with the mandate of making sure that everything goes as planned (oversight).

The nineth and tenth question seek to address the issue of effectiveness, results, and impact, since when you get funding without clarity on the dynamics of your business, you are likely to engage in business practices that are wasteful in terms of time, energy, money, and other resources.

Once all the questions on this checklist are answered, you can therefore come up with a very bankable business plan which makes investors eager to partner with your enterprise for mutual benefit until you achieve your goals.

The Smart Decision Toolkit ensures that people make open-minded decisions and take informed action which they are accountable for.

It promotes the adoption and implementation of the best Corporate Governance practices in both the private and public sector.

Those who make decisions without the use of any decision framework or toolkit such as the Smart Decision Toolkit, tend to act whimsically (emotionally) than logically at the expense of their stakeholders or shareholders.

It is therefore critically important for every organisation to adopt the Smart Decision Toolkit in the quest for funds, appeal, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and best practices in the pursuit of any objective.

For training and assistance on how to effectively use the Smart Decision Toolkit (Fundamental Congruence Checklist), contact Brian on:

[email protected]