Writing a Business Plan: Defining the What, Why, and Who

What is a Business Plan?

Building a business plan is all about leadership. The business plan describes the business as it exists today. It also provides a general overview of objectives in the short term, next 12 months, and the direction of the business in the following 2 to 5 years. The business plan provides the ability to communicate the assessment of the current business to others and what should or could be different or better.

Henry Kissinger defined leadership as,“The ability to take people from where they are to where they have never been before.”

Types of Business Plans

Financing Business Plan (the most common)Defines new business undertaking and how financing will be secured. When financing is secured, plans usually have limited long-term value except for perhaps comparison of a plan to actual.

Career Business Plan (most valuable type)Defines an owner’s objective for the business and serves as a tool to communicate the objective to others. This plan can be used either in whole or part with a myriad of people important to the operation. Having the plan updated annually assists owners with leadership functions.

Why a Business Plan?

Your life and business are on a journey with constant adjustments. Here are 3 factors that usually drive change:

  1. Major economic events such as expansion or contraction
  2. Significant organizational or management change
  3. Experience or maturity of the owners and their ability to define the business

To reach your expectations, you must first develop a plan that that assesses your current business, interests, skills, financial and non-financial resources, and gives a general overview of its objectives for the next 2 or 3 years. The plan provides information to help managers, owners, investors, lenders, and others to understand the present business operation.

The concept of a business plan is to both provide a vehicle for you to organize your thoughts to lead the business and the resulting decision-making, as well as to communicate to others your business as it is today and in the very near future.

Writing a business plan organizes your thoughts and focuses you on the right elements for leading your business. It helps you communicate effectively and efficiently regarding your business operation to other parties. Committing thought to paper clarifies your thinking by identifying issues we may have otherwise overlooked or postponed. Don’t be intimidated by the writing process. It takes time, energy and patience, but it is worth the effort.

Who is this Business Plan for?

The business plan belongs to you, your family, and those with whom you wish to share all or portions of the plan.

However, you should be writing the business plan for the following potential audience in mind:

  • You – the business owner or owners
  • Family members
  • Farm managers/employees
  • Lenders
  • Investors
  • Potential landowners
  • Merger and acquisition candidates
  • Future employees
  • Important leaders in community, industry, etc.

Professionals to Help You and Your Business

You may feel that you do not have enough need or time to plan, but the busier you are, the more you need to plan. A written plan will not only help avoid things getting out of control but will also keep you from concentrating too much in one area without remembering the “big picture.” The thought and writing process is often as beneficial to owners and managers as the actual finished plan. It is important to the success of your operation that YOU develop and write YOUR business plan.

Better management of your operation means being able to look at all of its business and financial aspects. AgriSolutions is known as a leader in these areas, and for the support they provide their clients.

Training Alongside Our Professionals

Work alongside the AgriSolutions staff to learn how to write a Business Plan that is tailored just for you. Leading Your Farm Business, AS 301, provides you with the foundation for developing a three to five-year business plan that will help you achieve your goals. Most of your time will be devoted to working on your business plan. You will be able to take home your initial business plan at the end of the class. For more information, explore our comprehensive agricultural training.

 

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Written By

Becky Wedekind

Becky Wedekind

Financial Analysist bwedekind@agrisolutions.com