Business Planning is now regarded as an essential part of an organisation’s methods of working. They are a requirement for applying to many funding bodies, such as the Big Lottery and many government funding initiatives.
At it’s simplest a Business is a plan of action as to how an organisation gets from where it is now to where it wants to be. This may focus on expansion or a change of direction in response to reduced and/or changed funding streams, the development of a new service, a change in delivery method following the implementation of payment by results funding or a strategy for survival?
Starting from a review of their current work, we can work with an organisation to develop straightforward but flexible business plans which can set objectives, monitor progress against objectives, include performance indicators and measure outcomes. The plans can operate a strategic level, over 2-3 years with Annual Action Plans and are a good way of drawing an organisations activities together with a course of action signed up to by Management Committee/Board, management, staff, volunteers and service users.
In the Social investment arena, there is a different type of plan which is that of developing a ‘business case’ for a proposed service or development. This is very much a proposal, with a focus on what need is being met and whether the proposal to meet that need is financially viable. Organisations wishing to obtain social investment also need to demonstrate that they are ‘investment ready’
I have been involved in developing business plans for a range of organisations from start ups to agencies with a multi-million pound turnover and everything in-between. To that end I returned to university a few years ago to gain a Masters Degree in Business Enterprise Management. I have also been involved with organisations in developing a business case when pitching for social investment and assisting them in becoming investment ready.