Author: Sheila Holm
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
You need to conduct research and write a good business plan if you want to succeed in business. In fact, starting a business without having a good business plan realised through a comprehensive feasibility study shows lack of business direction. It is in the light of this that I want us to examine this week, this text entitled “Seven Step Business Plan”, written by Ms. Sheila Holm, a respected business-management expert.
Holm says before preparing this text, she had cycled and recycled clients to every bookstore to work through every business-planning book option. She adds that the clients purchased many books but still wanted more help. Holm discloses that to make it easy and affordable for more business owners to receive help, she started conducting a series of seminars to help owners and their management teams develop their business plans within a seven-step format based upon their dreams and goals.
Holm says the outline of the seminars developed rapidly into a seven-step, one-page form for quick and easy review while updating the business plan according to each change and adjustment to the goals. The author educates that having a business plan adds value to the bottom line of a business.
As regards structure, this text contains seven chapters. Chapter one is entitled “structure”. Holm educates here that immediately in your own words, you should begin writing a statement about “how it is around here” according to how you are going to proceed with your business.
She says many owners, even after they open the doors and operate their business, proceed without a clear statement about their business: how it will meet the needs of customers or how their business relates to the industry. The author adds that their dreams and goals are not in writing or in focus yet. She stresses that clarity is helpful and has a positive impact upon your bottom line.
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of placement. Here, the author says the biggest mistake owners make is to think they have the most unusual business idea. Holm stresses that she is always concerned when a client says she should hurry up and develop a business plan before someone else steals the idea.
She reveals that ideas are out there and we do not have the market cornered on any idea. The author adds that only very few people with ideas will proceed and develop the ideas into a tangible entity. This expert submits that now that you have set out to pursue your idea, it is important that you continue to follow and recognise the needs of the market that initially inspired you. She explains that if you understand the placement of your business within the industry, it is as important today as it will be that every day you are in business.
In Holm’s words, “Too many businesses forget to stay current regarding the trends within the industry and the business, market in general. The business process is a fluid process, so do not plan on making a decision regarding placement and then setting your business idea into a concrete base and forcing it to hold up to this statement for more than a few weeks. This is why I absolutely recommend reviewing the Seven Step Business Plan form each month.”
She illuminates that this phase of planning your business is a good time to meet and interview experts. On the aspect of customers, Holm says if you think everyone is your customer, take a second look at the facts about your business and what it will provide to the community. The author educates that defining your customers will assist you in the process of matching your business with the top competitors in your industry.
Chapter three is on the concept of leadership. Holm says the most important statement you can make about your business is the statement you make about yourself and your involvement within each phase of the business. She adds that the statement you make about each member of your leadership team closely follows the importance of the statement you make about yourself.
According to this author, your leadership ability is critical as it is your ability to inspire others. “Remember, you are not able to be all things to people within the team. Each leader plays a specific role, and the team’s strengths and support in areas of weakness will define the overall strengths of the business,” Holm guides.
In chapters four to seven, Holm discusses concepts of purpose and highlights; vision and mission statements; operational and marketing plans; and financial and profit plans.
Even though the book is moderately big, the concepts are very rich despite obeying the business communication rule of brevity. On style, the report card of this text is in blue. For instance, a lot of textual and graphical illustrations are used to reinforce the understanding of readers. The book is also very educative in that the chapters are further broken down into many sub-segments to achieve simplicity and easy comprehension on readers’ part. Holm includes one-page fill-in-the-blanks form representing a prototype for a typical business plan to guide readers. What’s more, the language is simple.
However, a technical error is noticed in the text. This is the omission of a hyphen in-between the first two words of the title of the text “Seven Step Business Plan”. Omission of the natural hyphen has grammatically deprived “Seven” and “Step” from becoming a nominal compound modifier to the phrase “Business Plan”. It is structurally supposed to be “Seven-Step Business Plan”. Without a hyphen, one will also be grammatically compelled to add an “S” to “Step” because of the cardinal word “Seven”.
Finally, the text is a necessary companion for (prospective) entrepreneurs, business managers, etc. What else would you expect me to say if not that “it is highly recommended”? Get a copy of this book today and learn how to write a business plan so that you can achieve business success.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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