Do You Need a Business Plan or a Project Plan?

Do You Need a Business Plan or a Project Plan?

As a Management Consultant I see clients who come to us for the sole purpose of a creating a project plan, particularly in the e-commerce and living services space, but very often they need a cohesive business plan before we can implement an effective project plan. Here are some guidelines to identifying which you need and to creating both.

Business Plan

 “A big business starts small.” Richard Branson

business-plan

Any idea you have about generating money from goods or services is a business and deserves a business plan, even if it is on the back of a serviette while you’re having coffee. Start small and don’t be intimidated. From one sentence or paragraph can emerge your strategic intent.

 

business-plan

The purpose of a business plan is twofold. It is a vision and a roadmap plus, if you’re looking for funding or investment it’s essential to have a great business plan, while a project plan may be something which follows on from that.

1. Industry Knowledge

Get to know your area of business very well, including competitors and what they’re doing, as Financial Management Executive, William Pirraglia says, “To write the perfect plan, you must know your company, your product, your competition and the market intimately.”

2. Purpose

Entrepreneur  explains a business plan as a “Written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.” Key to doing this is to know your business purpose, the “why” of the product, this is important for yourself and potential investors.

3.Profile

There are steps within step to a business plan, and getting a business profile right includes knowing how to engage your audience and telling your brand story in a unique and engaging way. Joanna Zambas has some good tips in her article How to Write a Company Profile including being aware of style and clarity as well as using testimonials and adding in a powerful call to action.

 

4. Marketing Plan

This is another sub-section which requires analysis and strategic thought. There are great “how to” online guides here, Hubspot actually have free templates available to use. This area is about how you’re going to sell so it includes marketing tactics, budget (financing / advertising) and marketing goals (new products / cross selling) as well as clearly defining your target audience.

 

5. Know Your Audience

Once you have the basics of your business plan in place you can fine tune it depending on who youre showing it to. As Entrepreneur John Rampton  advises, “Bankers will be more interested in balance sheets and cash-flow statements, while venture capitalists will be looking at the basic business concept and your management team.”

Once you’re written the Business Plan, have a look at the SBA, the US Small Business Administration site which takes it further – including adding in these next strategic steps:

  • Funding request -how much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years
  • Financial projections -supply information like balance sheets
  • Appendix – an optional section that includes résumés and permits.

 

Project Plan

 

“A project plan can be a sub-set of business plan, but not vice-versa.” Naresh Priyadarshi, CEO, SSCBS Innovation

For project plans to produce the desired results they need to integrate, support and inform a business plan in terms of marketing strategy, development and direction. I’ve written on the tools to create great project plans including matrices and models to help identify almost every aspect of a business. This includes brand purpose, role players, actions, insights, competitors and company growth.

project-management

But what is the strategic intent behind the tools used for project plans, or in other words, what goes in to putting a great project plan together?  A project plan is about focusing on a more micro-level and this statement by Entrepreneur Jeff Platt says it all when you’re considering your first project plan: “Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.” Here are five ways to put your project plan into action:

1. Communication

Identify who your stakeholders which is anyone who is affected by the project including project sponsors. This step sounds simple but as Elizabeth Larson puts it, “Typically many of the project’s key stakeholders, that is those affected by both the project and the project’s end result, do not fully understand the nature of the project plan.”

2. Roles and Responsibilities

This speaks to the point above and there are often more people involved than one thinks… The Project Times outlines these main players to bear in mind:

  • Project sponsors
  • Business experts
  • Project manager
  • The Project team
  • End users who use the end product.

This also includes getting feedback from the team, if they’re on board they need to be heard, as Peter F. Drucker famously said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”

  1. Statement of Scope and Scope Baseline

This includes outlining what the benefits of the product / service are – how is it helping, who is it helping and how do you get out target audience to buy into it. The deliverables can then be written up in what is called a “Scope Statement”.  This also includes creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) so that the team is organised into manageable sections.  The Scope Baseline is an extension of this and acts as the reference point through the project cycle.  It includes the project scope document, the WBS itself and the WBS dictionary.

project-management

4. Management Plans: Timelines, Costs and Risks

Smart Sheet has free downloadable Project Plan templates to assist with the intricacies of your project plan but the risk analysis at this stage is important to note. As Emily Bonnie advises, “Tackle high-risk items early in your project timeline, if possible. Or create a small “time buffer” around the task to help keep your project on track in the event of a delay.” The Project Times reminds us to reassess the quality of the project and goes as far as suggesting you create a quality plan which, “Becomes the foundation for all the quality reviews and inspections performed during the project and is used throughout project execution.”

5. Back to Communication

You’ll notice that communication, engagement, feedback all loop backwards and forwards when creating a solid project plan. Not so with your business plan which can be a bit of a lonely task. Feel free to contact us at Prana if you could use a consultant to guide you along the way.

project-management

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com.www82.jnb2.host-h.net

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

Eight Tools to Create Project Plans and Deliver Marketing Success

Anyone with a business strives for success but not everyone systematically implements the project plan tools which are readily available to assist with marketing. This may be because many of the resources seem too academic or perhaps it’s the sheer volume of information which is daunting. In this article I highlight eight tools which can be used to create a solid project plan, helping create the strategic backbone to marketing success.

For project plans to produce the desired results they need to integrate, support and inform marketing strategy, development and direction. A project plan can be made up of one or more of the business tools below which include matrices and models to help identify almost every aspect of a business, from brand purpose, role players, actions, insights, competitors and company growth.

 

1) Project Charter

 

“If you don’t know where you are going. How can you expect to get there?” Basil S. Walsh

Creating a Project Charter is recommended for someone in project management who needs to identify, get buy in, track and measure a specific project. It outlines the:

  • Breadth of project
  • Goals
  • Who is involved and their responsibilities.

A Project Charter should:

  • Encapsulate the project’s purpose
  • Keep the people involved on the same page
  • Be a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team.

SmartSheet has Project Charter useful templates available for free download in word or excel.

 

 

2) Project Plan

 

“Plans are worthless. Planning is essential.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

While a Project Charter is an overview of a project, often to get buy in and approval for the framework, a Project Plan works on the approved structure and framework of the charter.

Bright Hub Project Management outlines the following points on how a Project Plan assists with the specific detail on executing, managing and controlling:

  • Project Value Proposition
  • People involved and their responsibilities
  • Business structure
  • What needs to be done
  • Phases, activities and tasks
  • Identification the work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • Allocation of resources
  • Time lines and milestones or critical path schedule (CPS)
  • Documentation of project inter-dependencies.

There are various ways to create a Project Plan but the traditional Microsoft Project Templates always work effectively, or explore the option of using a free Gantt Chart template.

 

3) Project Plan Scope Triangle

 

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus

 

The Scope Triangle has been used in project training programmes for over 25 years and is a useful tool to use when looking at the three “primary forces” of a project as well as if, when and where a “trade off” between them is necessary:

  • Time
  • Quality

As Nick Jenkins, from Project Smart says, “The best project managers will juggle all three like hot potatoes and will make decisions every day which effectively trade-off time versus quality versus resources.”

 

4) Ansoff’s Matrix

 

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.” Henry Mintzberg

 

This strategic planning tool dates back to the 1960s and is named after its creator, Russian American mathematician and business manager, Harry Igor Ansoff, also known as the “father of strategic management”.

The Matrix is based on Ansoff’s definition of product-market strategy as being: “A joint statement of a product line and the corresponding set of missions which the products are designed to fulfil.” Within the axis of existing / new markets and existing /new products are:

  • Market penetration
  • Market development
  • Product development and;

The benefit of using Ansoff’s Matrix (also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid) is that it can be used to, as MindTools explains, “Identify alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets.”

 

5) The Boston Matrix

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.” Jim Rohn

 

The Boston Matrix uses the axis of Relevant Market Share in relation to Relevant Market Growth to chart portfolios within a business, defined as:

  • Dogs – Products with low growth or market share
  • Question Marks or Problem Child – Products in high growth markets with low market share
  • Stars – Products in high growth markets with high market share
  • Cash Cows – Products in low growth markets with high market share.

I’ve included this matrix as it is useful for companies with separate business units or diverse products, but as Strategic Management Insights points out, it needs to be used by following these steps –

  • Choose the unit
  • Define the market
  • Calculate relative market share
  • Find out market growth rate, and;
  • Draw the circles on a matrix.

 

 

6) Gartner’s Hype Cycle

 

“Realistically, the world (and the technology) aren’t quite ready for autonomous flying taxis.” Kasey Panetta

Unlike most of the tools on this list, Gartner’s Hype Cycle positions us firmly in the 21st Century. It’s described as, “A graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.” But, more simply put, it’s positioning your product or business within a technology curve of expectation and time to see where it is / isn’t potentially relevant to the marketplace.

Gatner’s project tool drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle:

  • Innovation Trigger
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations
  • Trough of Disillusionment
  • Slope of Enlightenment
  • Plateau of Productivity.

Which – as they explain – helps to “separate the hype from the real”. For further insights on this, read 5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

 

 

7) System Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organisation forward.” Joy Gumz

Over the last 15 years I have consciously or unconsciously used the SDLC model in many projects including helping start ups with business plans, building marketing strategies, supporting change management and of course developing IT solutions. This simple model is an method in defining the steps in the project plan through there are various other tools.

The SDLC, also known as the Application Development Life-Cycle, describes the process (often used in IT and Systems) is for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an process or information system.

There are six key stages in the SDLC cycle:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development and Testing
  • Implementation
  • Documentation, and;

An additional note on the importance of this from Innovative Architects: ”The life cycle approach of any project is a time-consuming process. Even though some steps are more difficult than others, none are to be overlooked. An oversight could prevent the entire system from functioning as planned.”

For additional project planning tools Smart Insights have an article with more suggestions, including SWOT Analysis, the BCG Matrix, more on the Product Lifecycle Model, the Pestle Analysis Model and the BCG Matrix.

 

8) Bespoke Project Planning Tools

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

At Prana Business Consulting we also create bespoke project planning tools based on our experience as well as specific client needs.

  • Prana Business Flow Pyramid
  • B2B marketing model
  • Digital marketing Flowchart, and our
  • Marketing to Moms Model.

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

 

 

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com.www82.jnb2.host-h.net

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

 

So you want to be an entrepreneur?

Well that’s just wonderful – in South Africa we need entrepreneurs – people willing, able and capable of taking a risk to create something new, create their own work, and in doing so, create employment.  With unemployment sitting at roughly 60% in 2017, and a technical recession, the economy needs every single individual doing more, creating more and building more – whether it’s knowledge, services or products.
If we think of the most famous entrepreneurs, the names Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jay Z come to mind.   Some up and coming South African entrepreneurs like Inga Gubeka and Douglas Hoernle (https://www.thesouthafrican.com/10-entrepreneurs-under-30-taking-south-africa-by-storm/) are great examples whose lead we should follow.  All these people built something unique, something special and most importantly followed through.  It’s about the persistence – the tenacity for forge ahead regardless of difficult times, mental strain, financial woes or discouraging words.

 

The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.  In the past few years, entrepreneurship has become a very cool term to throw about.  In fact, corporate businesses have even coined a term – intrapreneurship – a manager or business exec who has the characteristics of a business owner – innovative, risk taking and so on – with the support of a larger corporate.
But what does entrepreneurship really mean to you and how do you define your journey?

 

To be an entrepreneur you need to:

  • Be able to wear multiple hats (or do everything in the beginning)
  • Take initiative
  • Delegate to those better than you or get help when you need to
  • Have a clear and non-emotional relationship with money
  • Learn from failure and fix things fast
  • Feel comfortable with the unknown
  • Be strong on execution (more than talk about ideas)
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully
  • Have a firm belief in your business idea

 

Finally, my belief is that entrepreneurial and business success comes from a place of deep spirituality.   Many of the most successful (who are successful in their life as well) live a life of service and a life where the journey is more important than the goal.  In learning and doing better day by day, we form part of a collective that helps improve our world.  When what you are doing in steeped in honesty, authenticity and goodness, the success of it will find you.

 

Keep striving.  Keep going.  Keep healthy and keep strong!

Phygital: The New Retail Marketing Playground

Phygital: The New Retail Marketing Playground

Physical merged with digital, that’s where the term phygital comes from. It’s a marketing and retail description, but you’ll find a world of phygital art out there too.  Omni-channel marketers should be excited about the phygital dimension. It’s a hybrid playground, and as Amrita Chowdhury, President of DY Works point out; “People move seamlessly between the physical and the digital world. Shouldn’t your consumer experience too?”

The brand retail space has changed. Once customers searched for a product, now the product has to try hard to seduce the customer; and we don’t just want to play and pay online. There’s a new phygital consumer who demands both a digital and physical brand experience. Retail Futurist, Howard Saunders, whose talk The Future is Scary inspired this article, explains the shift: “Ultimately, we are an innately social species that craves community, human contact and engaging spaces.”

E-commerce brands are introducing bricks and mortar stores. Most famously; the Amazon Book store. The first one in NYC is a cool 4,000 square feet with 3000 books on the shelves. Among its phygital marketing strengths are arranging the books according to data, Good Reads recommendations and Prime Member discounts. Plus, while you’re there you’ll get sidetracked by the Amazon electronics on sale.

Digitalist KRS Jamwal, summarises where we’re going with phygital: “The second wave of digital will be ‘phygital’—a combination of physical and digital, commonly called ‘omnichannel.’” Online brands are flexing their muscles in the real world. There are growing examples of this. Forbes.com, calls Warby Parker the “Poster Child for the Store of the Future” and it’s one of the most interesting retailers to embrace the “clicks and bricks” trend. Plus the Google Pop-Up stores, which opened their domes on 19 October. Now you can Daydream in their virtual reality station, for real.

But predicting our South African phygital future has a lot to do with the retail environment. Do we want more bricks and mortar shops locally?  According to the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), yes we do. Despite the economic downturn, “South African retail property has outperformed the global retail property total return index for all but two of the last 16 years.”

 

South Africa is among the top performing global markets in the retail sector. In the last 10 years (measured up to December 2016) South Africa and Hong Kong were the only two countries in the world that delivered double digit total returns on retail property, followed by Canada at 9.8% and Singapore at 9.2%.

So it seems that in terms of retail, South Africa has the space for brands to transition into the phygital playground, it’s a matter of striking soon and getting help from experienced omni-channel marketers. In the words of Paul Greenberg, founder of the NORA network; “Online is a great place to start a business. Perhaps the only place… But it’s not a great place to get stuck.”

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a full outsource marketing agency. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in marketing, branding, CRM and digital solutions. Prana partners with the best niche partners in the industry to drive end to end solutions. Prana specializes in solutions for baby, beauty and health care brands. Prana is a level 3, BBBEE certified company.

Website: http://pranabusinessconsulting.com.www82.jnb2.host-h.net

Business Trends for 2016

Another year of immense possibility awaits.  Leverage marketing efforts and catapult your business and brand while tapping into the trends for this year.  What does the 2016 landscape look like in the marketing world?

The top 5 biggest trends are:

  • Know your customer.  This is becoming increasingly relevant as the competitive landscape expands.  Understanding a customer’s lifestyle is just as important as understanding their product requirements.  Being relentless about great customer experience builds loyalty.   There are many different options for the discerning information seekers, which shoppers and consumers have become.  They now have the power to choose not to interact with traditional retail, and instead opt for an online shopping trip.

How will this impact brand development? 

The challenge is, to apply an integrated method of marketing while using multiple communication mediums and engaging with the shopper throughout the journey to purchase.  People consume information at different times and with a host of applications.  From online adverts, Facebook, print media, TV, Trailer advertising…..there are a host of new channels for brands to market their products.  The evolution in communication, up-weights the demand for interesting content that is desired for consumption.

  • Differentiation with Products and Services. People are looking for something different and relevant.  Differentiation also extends to how brands engage with the target market from recruiting new users to service delivery.  Agile adaptation to the lifestyle of the consumer, makes applying an integrated marketing approach much more relevant.  Lack of relevance can quickly become noise and just means wasted brand investment with a lower hit rate.
  • Continued adoption of Digital Platforms. In fact, digital marketing dominate most trend analysis and innovation news.  Social media as a powerful support channel for the overall brand strategy and is expected to grow in 2016.  (1) E-marketer.com estimates the social media spend, to jump 24.6% to 41 billion US dollars by 2017.  This trajectory is expected to continue in the years following 2017 as the adoption of digital continues.  Marketing knowledge is needed to apply social media to the brand strategy and implement in a way that’s relevant to the target market.  Communication should be planned and needs to be broader than being just about the brand.
  • Video and real time video streaming is increasing in popularity. The growth of associated apps with Snapchat and Periscope indicate how much this type of content is sort after.  As per Huffington post, a recent Comscore found that Snapchat had achieved a 32.9% penetration.  Major brands have caught onto this space in the digital landscape and are seeing results.  For and interesting read, look at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/layla-revis/social-media-trends-2016_b_8914190.html
  • Innovation in terms of bringing new concepts to the market on product and advertising to consumers will receive focus in 2016. Brands are trying new flavours, fragrances, packaging, routes’ to market and communication.  This is being well received as indicated by the amount of niche innovation coming into the market and the growing adoption of non-traditional media.  This is also in line with the demand from consumers for differentiation.  The ease of entering into product categories has made it easy for new suppliers to bring concepts to the market.  Retailers embrace this innovation to bolster their differentiation amongst competitors.

Another key lifestyle trend is the movement towards healthy living and good for the environment.  We see premium retail adapting to this more and more and shoppers are guided accordingly.  There is a higher consideration for composition of products.  The environmental impact has increased influence on the decision to purchase.

The battle for visibility continues as the widening landscape for consumer talk, increasingly expands.  More people are expected to adopt digital mediums, thus changing what they want to listen to and see.  This also influences how people shop, as we see an increase in online shopping experiences.

So we end with a recap.  Customer Centricity is key throughout the path to purchase.  Break free with innovation.  Understand your target market and their lifestyles.  Know how the brand integrates into the consumer’s life.  Differentiate on customer experience.  Lastly, apply modern and current advertising and communication techniques.  With this approach, you should be on trend for 2016!

 

 

References

http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Social-Network-Ad-Revenues-Accelerate-Worldwide/1013015 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2015/11/03/the-top-10-marketing-trends-that-will-define-2016/#701815d57d58

 

Written by Emiryl Paul, she is a trade marketing specialist. She has worked in the FMCG industry for 12 years and has built capabilities with cross functional roles. She has worked on market leading brands and medium sized brands. Emiryl has an interest in entrepreneurship having assisted start up companies, within local and Africa markets.