Making Bread: Business Planning (Part 1)

The Business Planning series will posted on Tuesdays Wednesdays, and Thursdays through the month of September 2011. A number of business planning issues will be addressed in the blog. For more detail, depth or individual information and answers, please contact Soltys, Inc. Comments and questions are welcome. We will post answers and responses.

I like making bread, both the kind you eat and the kind you spend. There are a lot of similarities if you think about it. While there are basic ingredients, changes in ingredients, process or shaping define the bread and give it special characteristics.

If it is leavened bread, dough is made that must rise using an agent such as yeast. Profit oriented businesses also need to make dough, utilize an agent which causes change such as new or upgraded products and services, demand, supply, or even the requirements of another client or related business to increase volume and return. Nonprofit businesses and government services are more like unleavened bread providing sustenance for those they serve without the rising process or agent.

All of these are made by following a recipe which stipulates ingredients, process and variances to successfully make the bread. In business, this would be a business plan.

Well established companies may choose to rely more on experience and history. Like an experienced baker, the owner may not physically refer to the plan. However, any alterations or desired changes often require returning to a recipe or plan. The plan originated as a concept or grouping of thoughts and goals, committed to writing with evaluation of “this – then” scenarios and potential consequences.

Over my years of consulting, I have seen and experienced many types of plans. I have also witnessed the challenges of companies who do not plan, inadequately plan and/or simply rely on experience as the plan.

Most often, they do not have the basis to make changes when need.
  • They have difficulty seeing and forecasting the ramifications of changes they would like to make.
  • There is little chance of empowering others to carry their business forward without their direct involvement.
  • Their companies are difficult to sell or transition when exit strategies are needed for key people.
  • The life of their company is directly tied to the people who hold the knowledge base.

Because we feel business planning is so critical to companies, we will dedicate the month of September to business planning. Watch for our blogs which will address key elements of business planning, types of plans and best practices. Several new downloads will be added to our download site including a business plan template.

Our company has helped many companies with business planning from writing through team facilitation and will now offer business plan reviews as an additional service. Let us help you turn dough into bread.