The big idea
Such is the effort that often goes into the preparation of a business plan that, once it is produced, the last and most crucial stage is neglected. It is at this point that you are well advised to do a thorough critique, reading it as far as possible, with the eyes of an outsider. It is an opportunity to assess its strengths and weaknesses and determine if there are any gaps you need to address. This evaluation phase should consider four elements:
- The written business plan itself: timelines and targets should be carefully reviewed and all the fundamental questions must be answered
- The manner of presentation: is it clear and concise, with a logical progression?
- Realistic approach: does it present a realistic perspective on how the business will evolve? That is not to say that it can’t be ambitious but there should be a clear argument behind your proposals
- The viability of the business: does the business plan present a business strategy with a strong and sustainable model at its core? Does the business have the management capability and financial competence to deliver its strategy?
The purpose of this tool is to provide you with a checklist against which you can self-assess your current plan. It could also be used as guidance criteria for revising your current plan or for writing a new plan.
The tool provides you with a series of questions to assess the readiness of your business plan. You can use the criteria as you write each section or you can assess the plan as a whole once it is all written. You may need to adapt the sections to make it appropriate to your business. You can use it on your own as a quick self-assessment guide if you have completed your business plan. If the plan is being written by a team, you can use it as a group.