In helping you get focused, get on track, and get back to profitable growth this blog is part 12 of a 12 part series providing more detail supporting the Business Change Flow presented on my web site, Center for Managing Change.

The previous blog in this series talked about 6 Criteria For Creating A Successful Vision and Solution Scope of Work. Now, let’s turn our attention to 8 Criteria For Building A Better Business Plan.

A business plan provides both the compass and the map for stating your goals and how to achieve them. Here are 8 criteria to keep in mind.

  1. Product/Service. What product or service does your company provide? What problem do you solve? What is your solution? What makes it unique?
  2. Profits/Financial Statements. How will you make money? What is your business model? Do you have a projected financial statement?
  3. Capitalization/Resources. What are your funding sources? What other resources do you need and what are their sources?
  4. Operations. What is your operational model? How will you manage growth?
  5. Management/Personnel. Who will run the company? What is your management structure? Who will do the work?
  6. Marketing. What market niche do you address? What are the demographics within that niche? What is the overall size of the market and what percentage do you need to do well? How will you market yourself to prospective clients?
  7. Competition. Who is your competition and what is your competitive advantage?
  8. Risk Management. Besides matters addressed in the previous questions what threats, opportunities, problems, and windfalls do you foresee? What is your plan for managing them? Do you have an Expected Monetary Value model that provides a baseline, expected value, best case, and worst case?

What I like about these questions is how they help establish and overview frame-of-mind for guiding thinking and actions in a cohesive manner.

This may look daunting if it is your first effort at putting a business plan together. There is an approach you can use, thought, that will help bring clarity to the situation — just “swim” in the components of the business plan and its components. Let me explain.

Start answering the questions listed in the 8 items above and when you reach a limit in answering one question switch to another. And when you reach a limit answering that second question, switch to yet another question.

For example, in item #1 above one of the questions is, “What makes your product/process unique?” Spell out your answer as best you can. When you reach a limit go to item #7 and describe your competitive advantage.

Working this way helps you establish a sense of balance or direction when working with the details of a particular aspect of the business.

Also, by having a working document to which you can return and modify the odds of success go up since you are keeping your balance. This is especially true when in any of the following situations:

  • entrepreneurial mode
  • change in the market place
  • growth

Also, having a document to which you return periodically with your partners, investors, team mates, etc., can help find and take the shortest path to success.

This concludes the series of blog posts on what it takes to get focused, get on track, and get back to profitable growth. For more information check out the rest of our website at

Also, for more information regarding change management and how you can get your arms around it download my free e-book, Mindset – 5 Simple Ways To Look At Complex Problems.