A business plan is considered to be one of the basic steps in developing a business. The entrepreneurs need to chalk out the strategies before starting the business. Such strategies are formally documented in the form of business plans. It is needless to mention that different businesses have different business plans because of the variations in the business model, offering, marketing and operational strategies and value proposition (Sener and Hacioglu, 2017). The instant report deals with the task of analysis of two business plans belonging from the same industry. One is Blueprints Business planning Pty Limited (hereinafter may be referred to as “Blueprints” or the company of the firm, as the case may be) and the second one is the Cambridge Strategy Group L.L.C. (hereinafter may be referred to as “CSG” or the company of the firm, as the case may be). Both the businesses intend to venture into the service of providing management consultancy. However, the geographical positioning is different or both the firms. The first firm is situated in Sydney, Australia where the second one is a US based company.
At the outset of the study, the organisational overview for both the firms have been provided in brief followed by the comparison with respect to mission and vision; market trend analysis marketing strategies, operational strategies and financial projections. Besides, the overall evaluation has also been performed in terms of holistic feasibility of the businesses based on the drafted business plans for both the businesses. Finally, the researcher wraps up the discussion by way of concluding note.
Blueprints Business Planning Pty. Ltd. (Blueprints), as stated earlier, is a management consultancy service firm that specialises in the service delivery to the small and medium enterprises (SME) primarily based on Sydney and nearby locations. The offerings include the preparation of business plans, training in management skills and also the strategy formulation for the start-up business.
Cambridge Strategy Group L.L.C. (CSG), on the other hand, is a similar business with more focus on marketing strategy formulation service to the small and medium scale enterprises (SME) in the Cambridge locality in the USA (Software, 2018).
Comparison of Business Plans
The different components of the business plans of both the companies have been analysed and evaluated in the subsequent sections of the report, as below.
The objective of Blueprints is to become one of the best business planners in the rating providers list for the locality. In other words, the company wants to be among the top management consulting businesses in the target region which may be substantiated by the rating agency’s rating for that kind of business. Such an objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. The business has short-term and long-term objectives from the viewpoint of operations as well as market growth. Hence, it may be stated that the Blueprints management has been able to develop a strong business objective or vision statement for them in the business plan successfully.
CSG, on the other hand, provides a holistic idea about the business objectives in their business plan. The entire objective of the business is to promote the small businesses and start-ups which lack expertise and guidance. CSG does not provide any financial support to small businesses but helps them in gathering private equity through training, counselling and consistent monitoring and supervision of the operations and strategy formulation activities. Such objects may be achievable and realistic but not specific and measurable (Software, 2018). Though CSG business plans talk about the long-term plan and hence it may be stated that the business objective is timely, the overall vision statement may not seems to be convincing in terms of SMART framework.
Target Market Analysis and Market Trends
Blueprints business plan provides detailed and researched market analysis it wants to penetrate into. Such analysis shows that the management has planned to perform the market analysis through the collection of primary data from Institute of Management Consultants, Australia; NSW Small Business Advisory Network specialised in the collection, collation and interpretation of data regarding consulting services in SME front in Sydney (Schaper, Volery, Weber and Gibson, 2014). In addition, the team has performed secondary research to analyse literature and journals and publication relevant for the purpose. Based on such analysis and findings, the team has identified a definite market for the management consulting services for the SME companies in Sydney. The market is evolving and growing with the pace of technology, time and customers’ choice and preferences (Arora, Arora and Palvia, 2014). Therefore, it may be stated that the Blueprints business plan ha been able to present a concise and informative market analysis for the business it intends to start with.
CSG business plan, on the other hand, incorporates a PESTL analysis within the market analysis section of the plan. The analysis shows that the target market is specific and has a certain amount of potential to penetrate into for the new businesses (Software, 2018). In addition, the team also performs analysis of competitive elements in the market in the backdrop of Porter’s Five Force Model. The result exhibits that the market is competitive but ha a potential for growth through cost leadership and product differentiation. Furthermore, the owner group of CSG performs a growth analysis based on the CAGR (consolidated average growth rate) in the market and derives substantial possibility for the new entrants in the given market. Hence, it may also be asserted that CSG has performed its market analysis based on the theoretical framework as well as a practical approach which Blueprints may lack.
As far as a marketing strategy is concerned, Blueprints has specific and thorough marketing strategies for its offerings, a stated in the planning manual. The business intends to market its products and services by way of localised physical advertisement by way of distribution of leaflets, pamphlets, handouts. In addition, the personalised meeting may be effectuated by way of exchange of business cards and letterheads (in case of official communication). Apart from offline marketing, Blueprints wants to go online and hence, has a specific strategy for ICT marketing. Social media will be used and a separate website will be created through which paid promotion will be performed at a regular interval. Therefore, it may be stated that Blueprints management has created a well-balanced marketing strategy comprising both offline as well as online marketing channels and tools to reach out to a large customer base in a cost-effective manner (Arora, Arora and Palvia, 2014).
CSG, on the other hand, assumes to provide a niche service and hence their business plan provides an overview of the marketing goal. Specifically speaking, they have not used any marketing channel in their business plan to reach out to the customers. There have been references to focus on Triangle Area of North Carolina that was recently rated #3 in Dun & Bradstreet's Entrepreneur magazine list of the best metropolitan areas for small business. As part of their promotional strategy, they will participate in the North Carolina Chapter of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development to make contacts with Venture Capitalists, Private Equity Firms and also the SMEs in the need of constancy (Software, 2018). However, there has not been any detailed discussion on his line. Like Blueprints, CSG could also have planned for online promotion where a separate website could have been created. Through the website, business promotion could have been made. In addition, social media promotion could also have been performed through paid advertising (Arli, 2017).
An operational plan has been detailed in the manual of Blueprints. The business will be legalised by way of obtaining registration with necessary licensing for GST. The shareholding pattern of three promoters has also been specified therein. Each member’s experience has also been separately documented within the plan so as to give an idea about the management groups and their acumen. In addition, the responsibility hierarchy and rules and responsibilities of each of the stakeholders have also been detained along with the respective target for the specific period to be achieved by them. Further, a plan regarding the location and premises has also been presented therein. On the other hand, the CSG business plan put emphasizes more on the developing the organisational structure and Board’s composition including their profit sharing structure and management compensation (Software, 2018). However, the details regarding the locations, utilities, equipment are not specified. Therefore, it may be construed that the business plan of CSG lacks in terms of these detailing and specification.
Blueprints business plan provides a detailed financial projection in terms of preparation of projected income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement along with the necessary workings and financial assumptions. CSG business plan, on the other hand, provides a superficial breakup of the financial components of the business and presents a rough view of the cost elements of the business (Software, 2018). Moreover, the pricing strategy has not been specific and definite. The break-even point could have been calculated as the same is an important KPI (key performance indicator) for a new business. Moreover, the profitability could have been analysed for the next 2 to 3 years in order in order to visualise the financial health of the business in future.
Implementation and Timetable
Blueprints business plan provides a detailed timetable as to the milestones that may need to be achieved along with the corresponding time limit. Such timetable is prepared on a monthly basis and for next one year. In other words, such timetable shows a realistic target set for the owner groups of the business. On the other hand, the CSG business plan does not have any timetable and hence, it is surely a detrimental element for a new venture. If the timeframe for each actionable is not specified, the owner groups may lose the directions and bindings in terms of lack of planning with respect to the timeframe. The implementation strategy is utmost needed and for that timetable could have been an ideal benchmark. CSG business plan has an implementation summary but that excludes the activities with a corresponding timeframe (Software, 2018). Without the time limitations, the management may lose focus and entire objective of implementation strategy may get vitiated.
The discussion and analysis herein show that the business plan of Blueprints is much more detailed and includes all the necessary elements of a successful and efficient business plan. CSG’s business plan, on the other hand, lacks several aspects. It should be more elaborated there should be a concrete effort made by the management to develop a business plan with more details. However, it may be observed that both the business plan lacks a critical point called “exit plan”. If the business plan fails, there should be a clear-cut exit policy through which the necessary funding may be recouped (Nicholson, 2015).
Based on the discussions and analysis performed in the preceding sections of the report, it may be conceived that the business plan is critical for the start-ups and new businesses. If the owner wants to check out the important tasks that may need to be accomplished before the formation of the business, a business plan will guide him in identifying those elements (Sood, 2012). The business plan provides a holistic guidance as to how the business should be kick-started with. However, a business plan is the initial strategies documented in textual form and hence, may lack its efficiency in terms of practical utility (Bezawada, 2012). There have been a number of instances where a business has well-drafted busies plan but still has failed due to improper management. Therefore, the owner is the ultimate responsible person for the success or failure of a new business. The business plan just helps him to guide in his strategic decision making. Finally, it may be concluded that a well-drafted business plan significantly contribute towards the corporate goal of attainment of sustainability of the business in the market in long-run (Nicholson, 2015).
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