Seven Steps to a Successful Business Plan

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Seven Steps
to a
Business Plan
This Page Intentionally Left Blank
Seven Steps
to a
Business Plan
Al Coke
American Management Association
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Coke, Al.
Seven steps to a successful business plan / Al Coke.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8144-0648-3
1. Business planning. 2. Strategic planning. 3. Success in business.
I. Title.
HD30.28 .C6422 2001
©2002 Alfred M. Coke
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
This publication may not be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in whole or in part,
in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of AMACOM,
a division of American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
Printing number
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
List of Figures
Introduction: How This Book Can Help You
Develop a Powerful Business Plan
That Works
The Five Critical Ingredients of a Successful Business Plan
Why the Traditional Planning Models for Building a
Business Plan Don’t Work
The Traditional Approach: Good Intentions,
Dismal Results
The Piecemeal Approach: No Way to Fit the
Pieces Together
The Deflected Focus Approach: Falling Short
of Your Company’s Real Needs
The Three Unique Features of This Book That Will Help
You Achieve Your Business Plan Goals
Your Management Story
The Concept of backPlanning
The 5-Page Business Plan
How to Convert Your Goals Into Practical Business Behavior
The Key Questions: The Business Plan Self-Test
1 How to Create a Compelling Company
Story That Inspires Employees to Excel 1
The Company Story: The “Single Most Powerful Weapon”
in Preparing a Business Plan 2
The Three Reasons Company Stories Fall Short of
Expectations 3
When a Story Is Badly Told 4
When the Story Pieces Don’t Add Up 5
When the Story Isn’t Believable 5
The Antidote to a Badly Managed Story 5
How Slogans Work as Windows Into Your Company 6
Organizational Energy Fields: The Invisible Forces
That Hold Your Company Together 10
Fields of Belonging 11
Fields of Challenge 11
Fields of Purpose 12
Fields of Contribution 12
The Nine Tools for Generating Effective Business
Energy Fields 12
Growing Up to Be What You Don’t Want to Be:
The Three Stages of a Company’s Life Cycle 16
Stage 1: Matching the Stage and the Story 17
Stage 2: Growing Your Story 17
Stage 3: Accepting Stagnation of Your Story 20
Summary 21
The Key Questions: Creating Your Company Story 22
The Practical Applications: Bringing Your
Company Story to Life 23
2 The Practical Guidelines for Building a
Business Plan in Five Pages 25
Defining Your Business Plan 26
How the 5-Page Business Plan Works 27
The Strategic Plan—Forming the Heart of Your Story 28
The Operational Plan—Bringing Your Plan to Life 29
The Organizational Plan—Defining Your
Corporate Structure 31
The Resources Plan—Analyzing the Support You
Need to Put Your Plan Into Action 32
The Contingency Plan—Taking Evasive Action
in a Crisis Situation 34
Tips on Capturing Information and Minimizing Paperwork 36
The Four Unique Phases in a Business Planning Cycle 37
Phase 1: Preparing 39
Phase 2: Planning 40
The Bubble-Up Theory: Why Planning
From the Bottom Up Doesn’t Work 43
Phase 3: Implementing 44
Phase 4: Sustaining 47
Skills Development 48
Coaching and Communications Training 48
Explaining How Money Works 49
Process Mapping 50
Leadership and Managership Training 52
Summary 53
The Key Questions: Building Your 5-Page
Business Plan 54
The Practical Applications: Beginning a Successful
Planning Cycle 55
3 Strategic Planning: The Five Critical
Considerations That Can Help Your
Plan Succeed 57
How to Embrace the Fast-Changing Laws of the
Business Universe Into Your Company Story 59
Bad Attitudes: How Organizations Get Into Trouble
With Poor Planning 63
Timid Companies: Thinking Small and Failing
to Take Risks 63
Arrogant Companies: Three Deadly Excuses for
Not Writing a Business Plan 66
How to Choose the Best Time Frame for Developing and
Executing Your Story 69
Proactive Long-Term backPlanning 69