Who Will Read Your Business Plan?


Who Will read your business plan?

"That question that should be carefully considered before starting into the process of writing a family business plan," according to top family business expert Don Schwerzler "Who will read your business plan? Potential investors or lenders, of course. Business Plans came into use primarily for companies that were looking to borrow or expand by bringing in outside investors. And Venture Capital Corporations, Angel Investors, banks, the federal government through the Small Business Administration, state governments, even local governments are still a big part of the lending and investing scene."

Schwerzler has been studying and advising family businesses for more than 40 years and he is the founder of the Family Business Institute But there are many more potential readers of your business plan, some of whom will be a bit surprising...

  • Customers. It is increasingly common for major companies to require a business plan from a potential supplier. After all, a long term supplier relationship can represent risk to the buyer and it is natural that they want to know how their supplier will address major business issues and fulfill their supply commitments. We think it is a good stategy to invite your key customers to read your business plan.
  • Managers and employees. This is the "song sheet" that everyone should be using. Even if a company has many policies and procedures in place, there will always be decisions to be made, and knowledge of the business plan template will enable consistent and well-considered decisions. Encourage these people to read your business plan - it will help to better organize your business!
  • Family members, even those not involved in the day-to-day operations of the family business. This suggestion seems surprising at first, but we have found that it generally makes sense. Although it is sensible to separate the family and the business, [ Is Your Family Business A Battleground?] reality is that family members might depend upon the business or have expectations of the business. And the non-participating members and spouses might not have a full appreciation of just what is involved by the participating members. Very often, we find that sharing family business information leads to a more realistic expectation and greater appreciation and understanding by non participants of participants.
  • Your Board of Directors or your family business Advisory Board should know the business plan in detail and ensure that you and your family business management team are making decisions and plans with reference to the business plan.

    Don't forget to include a Family Business Valuation as part of your estate planning, succession management and insurance coverage.

  • As for distribution, we think that generally the more people who see the business plan the better. Especially the Executive Summary. However, full copies of the business plan should be treated as confidential and it is entirely appropriate to have recipients sign a Non-disclosure Agreement.

Wrting a solid business plan for your family business is no longer a difficult task - in fact, using a software program to help makes good sense.

One business plan software we recommend to our clients is easy to use and gets the job done fast.


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