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Opinions of Saturday, 18 January 2014

Columnist: Adufutse, William Yaw

Developing the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Ghana

-Part IV-The Business Plan

By William Yaw Adufutse, Ph. D.

Business Plan is one of the most important requirements for the success of any business. The requirements of a Business Plan, and for a Business Plan is not different for a budding entrepreneur, or a seasoned one. What then is the Business Plan, and what are the components? A Business plan is an idea generator. It allows the entrepreneur to tell the world what the organization is all about and what it can accomplish. It is the basis on which any investor, especially a venture capitalist will make decisions whether, or not, to fund the enterprise.

There are several parts to the Business Plan, these are: a. Table of contents, b. Executive Summary, c. General Company Description, d. Products and Services, e. Marketing Plan, f. Operational Plan, g. management and Organization, h. Financial Plan. Due to space we will consider three of these components of the Business Plan, and continue them in installment basis till all of them are covered. To start, the table of content is just that. It is a listing of the various subparts of the Plan with page numbers to make locating information easy. The Executive Summary follows on the next page after the table of content. The purpose of the Executive Summary is to give a general overview of the business plan. It has to be written clearly, and with precision. This is probably one of the most essential sections any prospective investor reads to get a general view of the enterprise. As the saying goes “The first appearance is the most important appearance.” This is true for the Business Plan as well. The Executive Summary provides the first appearance to the organization. If it is muffled up and lacks clarity, chances are, the investor will not proceed with the other sections of the plan. It is a good idea to provide a synopsis of each of the section of the Business Plan in the Executive Summary. Doing that is similar to providing a mini summary of each section.

Once the Table of Contents and the Executive Summary are done, the next step is the General Company Description. In this section you are going to state what the company is all about. What is the primary business the organization engages in. If for example the organization is to be in the Kente weaving business, then it should be stated here that the organization intends to be in the Kente weaving business catering to wealthy Ghanaians, or whatever business the entrepreneur wants to be engaged in. The General Company Description should also include the description of the leadership team. Their educational background, the experiences of the members of the team as well as how those experiences can translate into the success of the organization. Equally of importance is a statement about where the leadership sees the organization in a few years. We will continue with another three sections of the Business Plan in the next few weeks. Just keep looking for it, or you can email me. Doing things right leads to success and I wish you success in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Dr. William Yaw Adufutse is from Anfoega in the Volta Region, and a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change in the US. He can be reached at adufu1wy@yahoo.com