ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43
Financial Times  

Failing to ‘Plan’ is ‘Planning to Fail’

Launching and growing a new business venture is wrought with lots of opportunities and threats. The most successful entrepreneurs are typically those that are able to see the bigger picture and remain focused on the ultimate goal. They consider new opportunities, but are also aware that pursuing them often distracts from accomplishing their original goals. For any budding entrepreneur, a business plan is a great tool to ensure that the business remains focused on their key strategic objectives, says Qtex Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, presenters of Sri Lanka’s first business plan competition..

Qtex, in a statement said, the business plan should be a realistic view of the expectations and long-term objectives for both established business and new ventures. It provides the framework within which the business must operate, and ultimately succeed or fail.

For business managers or entrepreneurs seeking external funding, the business plan is the single most important sales document that they are ever likely to produce. This is the key to raising cash and capital which is the life blood of any business.

The preparation of a detailed business plan is a lengthy and sometimes costly exercise which involves a great deal of thinking and debate amongst the senior management team. However, a shorter 2-3 page strategic plan can provide a solid foundation on which to base a much more detailed and comprehensive business plan.

As a first step to developing a strategic plan, it is desirable to clearly identify the current status, objectives, and strategies of your business. This examination involves multiple aspects, both internal and external to the business. Correctly defined, these can be used as the basis for a critical examination to probe existing or perceived strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities faced by the business.

These key aspects include:

*Consideration of the product or service concept (Is this idea practical and implementable?);
*Size of the market opportunity (Is the market niche large enough to be profitable?) ;
*Current economic climate (Can the businesses survive and grow in different market conditions?);
*Competitive advantage (How strong is the current and potential competition?);
*Funding requirements (Does the business have enough capital?).

Examination of these key aspects ensures that the prospective entrepreneur is well prepared for the challenges ahead and drastically increases the venture’s chances of success.

Sri Lanka’s first business plan competition provides entrepreneurs a chance to win significant cash prizes and have respected Sri Lankan academics, entrepreneurs and business leaders review their strategic plans. This competition is a unique exercise, and is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Applications are available online at and the closing date is April 10. The Sunday Times FT is the media sponsor of the event.



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