A meeting that set me thinking about the business planning process more widely. My visit was with the MD of an agency business. He believes a different approach could deliver a significantly wider appeal across his sector. In short, he felt there is a great opportunity. First Steps Okay, so the idea was in place.
What to do? To illustrate the point, let me digress. Great Britain has a long established tradition of technical innovation. From the canals of the 18th Century which were so influential in driving the industrial revolution, through to Concorde and Graphene, British engineers have some great ideas. Technically they are as good as it gets, but there is a problem.
Developing the idea is one thing, making it a commercial success is quite another. Numerous canals never made a profit and even today, the majority of the commercial rights to Graphene are held overseas. Back to my meeting. The first thing my contact did to explore his new opportunity was to switch his computer on and start work on his new and improved software application. Instead of custom tabs, some plans are assembled with printed tab indices with miniature plastic covers, but if you have access to preprinted laminated tabs, they are preferable.
Avery has Index Maker dividers for ink-jet and laser printers that you can customize with basic desktop software. A recent innovation is hidden tabs that protrude past the pages but not the cover. Within each section, set off subsections or segments with crossheads usually set bold in a sans-serif font.
When these are justified to the right or left margin, they are referred to as sideheads. Color and charts. Charts, graphs, and illustrations are commonly acceptable if appropriate to the text. Color is often better than black and white; however, choose reds and blues, not chartreuses, yellow-oranges, or some other unusual color. In fact, if you are going to use extensive colored charts and graphs, choose a theme of three or four rich colors and use them consistently throughout the work.
Reserve photographic prints for the exhibits. Even then, they should be presented in protective sheets or converted to color copies and labeled or captioned in font styles consistent with the rest of the business plan. If needed in the main body of the business plan, pictures look more professional when scanned and merged into the layout. Use laser or ink-jet printers to print on paper of stationery quality. Staying consistent by using the same type of paper for text, graphs, charts, and illustrations yields a quality professional look.
Using bits and pieces of different paper gives the impression the plan was thrown together. Proofreading and copyediting. Have your figures checked by an accountant and the text proofread by an editor or proofreader.
This article is the first of a four part series where Mitchell, our specialist health economist and Senior Consultant, considers the pressures on our health services and investigates the solutions needed to thrive through them. In this first article, Mitchell analyses existing data and outputs, delves into vision setting and creativity and links it all together to see how integrated strategic planning can transform the performance of healthcare organisations.
You can download the first article here. There seems to be little co-ordination across the business and brands, particularly in the regional teams, about the number of launches and activities feasible in a year with the resources we have locally. The tension is not apparent until we get to the execution stage in the local market. I can see that ecommerce will make our plans more complex and more assets will have to be developed and executed to support them.
What increases my frustration is that I feel that there is a solution to all this. People throughout the organisation, at all levels and across functions, need to find a way to work together more collaboratively no big investment needed in systems or technology.
What to do? While some business plan proponents separate market and competition, it takes an examination of both, together, to come to one very important final conclusion: your market share. What a great idea for a heritage village, to ensure it is clogged by fumebelching juggernauts every Friday and Sunday. If needed in the main body of the business plan, pictures look more professional when scanned and merged into the layout. It is certainly a great idea but I believe the path from here to commercial success is not so straightforward as the MD anticipates.
We are always happy to sit down with you and talk through the options over a cup of coffee. Using the latest software printing design tools, such as boxes, borders, shadow lines, and enlarged and bold characters, can add a professional look if correctly done without drawing attention to their use and stealing the show from the material itself. A Winning First Impression The saying, "There's no second chance to make a good first impression," is highly appropriate when it comes to the opening sections of your business plan and its overall appearance. For a professional quality, use a sans-serif font, such as Arial, Modern or Verdana, for titles, sideheads, tables and outlines.
Eircode is a system that has been excoriated by everyone who will have to encounter it. It may be that you then wish to take these ideas forward yourself, or if we can help in delivering your marketing, we will put together a proposal as to how we can move forward together. We now have a reasonably decent road network. We recognise that budgets must be realistic for SME businesses, thus allowing our effective marketing programmes to be sustainable.
Don't necessarily try to balance the material from section to section. Should you focus on building lists or doing something with your contacts?