Two years before the outbreak of COVID-19, Board Notice 194 of 2017 took effect. One of the requirements in Chapter 5 of the Board Notice states that each FSP must have a business plan that includes the aims and scope of the business as well as the business strategies. It states further that this plan must be updated regularly so that it remains relevant.
Fast forward to today and knowing the effects of a pandemic and the aftermath of economic disaster, looting and unrest, have you thought about reviewing and updating your business plan to map out how your business will remain relevant, profitable and successful in challenging times?
Why is a business plan necessary and how often should it be updated?
Preparing a business plan is like planning a holiday. To make your holiday a success, planning and organising are necessary. You need to have a clear idea of your destination and the steps you need to take to get there, like considering where you want to go, how you will get there, how much money you need, how long you will be away and what you need to do to make it happen. If you do not plan your holiday, would you still go away, or would it remain a concept?
Ultimately, a business plan is a tool that helps pave the way for the future of a business. It is a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve them.
A business plan should be reviewed and updated according to changes in the business and regulation, and therefore requires consistent monitoring and adjustment.
Masthead runs regular business planning webinars to assist advisors to draft an effective business plan. Read more about the webinar “How to create a business plan that works”
Key benefits of a business plan
A business plan enables you to plan, articulate or revise the purpose of your business. It incorporates both the measurable and intangible components of your business which should be linked to detailed short-, medium- and long-term action plans. Measurable components are conveyed in monetary terms and percentages, such as income, expenses, and client growth. Intangible components could include service, quality of staff and risk management. A business plan also allows you to plan, create, draft and implement policies and processes for your business.
A business plan can also facilitate a culture or incorporate notions of treating customers fairly (TCF) which support and reinforce your business approach to retaining clients and income and delivering outstanding services by understanding each client’s needs.
Assembling a business plan also helps you assess risk and reward through a structured planning method like a SWOT analysis. This exercise will enable you to better understand your business and the environment in which you operate.
What should be included in a business plan
Your business plan should be unique, based on how you run your business, your business goals and objectives and how you plan to meet these goals and by when. The key factor in creating a business plan that works is proper business planning. When drafting your business plan be realistic, detailed and keep your clients in mind. The culture of TCF and all the TCF principles should be at the core of the planning process.
Your business plan should include information such as:
- Your mission and vision – This is about what drives and inspires you and your business.
- Information about your business – Who are you, who works for you, what services do you offer and what do you specialise in?
- Your target market – Who are the ideal clients you want to attract to your business?
- Products, services and processes – Identify your products and services, as well as the processes that define your unique client experience model.
- Your value proposition – This should describe how your products and services will benefit clients, what they can expect from you and what makes you stand out from competitors.
- A SWOT analysis – This requires a deeper look into your business and involves four elements:
i. Strengths – Your competitive advantages, and how you can use them.
ii. Weaknesses – What these are and how you improve them.
iii. Opportunities – Looking outside your business, what are the opportunities for your business and how can you take advantage of them?
iv. Threats – These are things over which you do not have control, but you need to be aware of and understand how to respond.
- Your goals and expectations – These include financial goals, such as assets under management, production goals and number of clients, as well as operational goals such as staff, technology, and your office.
- Marketing ideas – How will you achieve your goals? What activities need to be implemented to do so?
- Measurement – Once you set goals, how will you measure progress to see if you are achieving your goals within your deadlines? How often will you do this and who will be tasked to do it?
Who to involve in a business plan?
It’s important to involve all role players in developing your business plan, including sales staff, administrative staff, and any managers. You could also consult external stakeholders like accountants, product providers and their consultants, compliance officers, office automation consultants, communications suppliers, and IT support providers. These parties all contribute by effectively executing various aspects of your business plan. They would be able to assist with information.
A business plan is ultimately a blueprint of what you would like your practice to look and feel like. When developing your business plan, keep it simple. It should state what you intend to offer clients and identify the key deliverable areas to run an efficient practice. It should also actively drive outcomes through well-documented action plans and keep TCF at its core. There should be accountability for your business plan, so identify who is responsible for what and by when. When updating your business plan, consider the new operational environment to ensure you steer your business into a sustainable future.
Our business planning webinar is CPD accredited and can assist you to draw up a business plan to suit the needs of your business. Find out more about this webinar
Masthead can also assist you with personal implementation of a business plan. Contact your regional office for more information.