Prepare and evaluate three key points before submitting your business plan to shield you from criticism.
Every executive needs to present a business plan one day. Whether it’s a short-term action plan or a big project, eventually you’ll come across this mission to present it and the judges or other peers/managers will rate it.
For Forbes’ Mark Murphy, all plans will fail if they don’t answer at least three critical questions that need to be answered after the presentation ends.
1. What is the communication style of the people who will be evaluating your business plan?
Someone will evaluate your business plan. An investor, a boss, a manager, a pair, a board…You can prepare yourself by thinking about how you can inspire or influence them to understand what you are doing. Some types of people want a quick overview.
In other cases, there are those who like super-detailed schedules and, still, there are those who prefer to see rough projections to get a better idea.
In the ideal world, a good business plan should fit all types, but let’s face it, there isn’t enough time, resources, or even energy to do something completely without being sure it will pass.
According to Murphy, an online communication study with more than 50,000 responses found that, among finance executives, for example, 32 per cent were classified as analytic communicators.
This profile loves hard data and real numbers and is skeptical and disgusted when a plan doesn’t meet that need. On the other hand, marketing executives might like a more visionary line that talks about emotion and has a denser, more meaningful story.
With 38% of the marketing-related profile classified as personal communicators, it is clear why they are so keen to find out what you really think and not just spreadsheet values.
In short, study well the audience that will judge your plan and structure your presentation adapted to them. This will ensure you have more success.
2. What will you stop doing?
Business plans are about new ideas, new approaches and, therefore, they often arrive full of new tasks that will be necessary for their implementation. The burden is that adding new functions often doesn’t come with new features.
In fact, the opposite is often true: your plan is to optimize or improve something that already exists to save money or to solve a problem more intelligently.
Therefore, it is always advisable to question what you or your team will not do in order to take on the open fronts in the new business plan. After all, describing new activities is something very pleasant and quick, but making room for change without leaving something behind is not that simple.
The chance that your plan will make the judges skeptical increases as you don’t demonstrate how much better it is than existing activities, so proving it’s a good reason to succeed the current model is the best way to ensure not only that the presentation will be excellent, but also that you believe in the value of your project.
3. Why so far have the changes not been implemented?
If the solution exists and you know the way of the stones, it’s good to be prepared to answer because so far you haven’t implemented the idea. It may be that the company didn’t have the budget, the team or the necessary technology, but answering this question correctly is vital if you are not to be overwhelmed.
Sometimes the change the company needs can be cultural, with people being more motivated to deliver better performance. But how are you going to make them change? Of course, if this is the case, people will ask you what needs to be done to change the status quo.
Be extremely prepared to get out of this detailing this issue, as a beautiful plan is useless if it doesn’t guarantee the human change that exists in the process.