Sustainable Business/You and your business
Sustainable Business - being in business for the long-term.
Sustainable Business - getting started in a small business and staying in business.
This section is for describing who you are, what your business idea is, how you will go about your business, and what the market sees in your business.
- 1 About you
- 2 About the business
- 3 About the market
- 4 The principles of the business
- 5 The methods for the business
- 6 The value proposition
- 7 SWOT
Perhaps subtitled "getting to know you" this section starts with a brief curriculum vitae of you the entrepreneur. this gives the reader - whether it be the a financier, your staff, the community or your markets, an insight into who you are, what your capabilities, and areas you will need support.
A general summary
Try to make it interesting, relevant and reasonably brief.
- What degrees/diplomas are held.
- What professional bodies are belonged to
For example: (include verifiable stories or references)
- Managing people (if your business involves hiring staff)
- Ability to take on new ideas
- Overcoming difficulty
- What other start-ups have you been involved in and what role did you play.
- Ask somebody
Ask people who know you well and who will be honest with you, what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. It is great to know what we are good at but in business it is more important to know what we are not good at.
About the business
Come back to this section after you have completed everything else in this booklet. Summarise your responses to each point in booklet to give the reader o your business plan, an overview of what it contains.
- What type of business is it?
State what sort of business you are planning first:
- Not for profit
- Leisure and tourism
- Wholesale and Retail
and then describe what your business will do, or what it will be, or describe the product or service.
- Is there a market?
- How will the business work?
- Does anyone else do this, and how?
- What do you need?
- What is the background to the business?
A narrative description to the background to how this business formed.
- Check points
A flow chart that guides the user through a self analysis of the idea, resulting in actions.
Refer to flow chart in the Introduction. Page 2 of the NZTE text Starting a Business - this chart should be redesigned to simplify and fit the idea.
About the market
Demonstrate what you know about the market for your business. Then call on your principles to deliver a value proposition to that market.
More needed on how to analyse and define a market...
The principles of the business
You will establish a number of operating principles for your business. When you set about deciding on your methods for operating your business, you will consider how each method helps you achieve and maintain each of your principles.
For example, one of your principles might be maintain a healthy work/life balance. A method for doing business in line with that principle might be that you and your workers maintain reasonable work hours with good holidays and friends and family events. Your business might decide not to operate in overtime, or help coordinate childcare and healthcare.
Another example might be that your business will produce no waste. Methods might be a reduction, reuse and recycle process, where you try to purchase goods when needed rather than in bulk, and from other businesses that generate little to no waste themselves. You might use those products in such a way so as to capture or reduce the waste you would otherwise generate.
Your methods will always need to include outcome evaluations so you can be sure they are helping you maintain your principles. If you can successfully operate your business with methods that maintain your principles, then your principles become the value proposition your business can make to its market and community.
So what are the principles in which you will do business? Here are some examples of principles that may assist you in developing your own.
- Our Brand Principles - Central Otago
- What is a Sustainable Business - The Sustainable Business Network
- Permaculture Principles
- How to establish principles
- List problems or issue that could arise in your business
- Group these problems and issues into categories
- Word an operating principle for each category that will guide decisions toward solutions to the problems and issues
A retail business
A tourism business
A service business
A not for profit
An accommodation business
A manufacturing business
The methods for the business
Refer to the booklet Methods of business and list all the methods you will use in preparing for and operating your business. Remember to use your principles in guiding your decisions about methods.
The value proposition
Based on your principles for doing business try writing a value proposition to those with interests in your business. After you have worked through the initial market and SWOT analysis, come back here and rework your value propostion. The objective is to have a good balance between your business principles and your market's demands and expectations.
- The value proposition
What value does your new venture provide to its customers? How do you plan to set up your venture to ensure this value is delivered to each customer.
The sustainable business takes this concept and adds layers (a matrix??).
The value you provide
What value do you provide to your customers.
- For example it may be to provide the latest in fashion garments at an affordable price.
- Another example might be a tourism operator who seeks to provide an experience that is memorable and has a minimal carbon footprint.
What is required is to get-to-know your customer because assumptions in marketing are based on our own backgrounds which may not be similar to our customers.
later sections will help develop a structured approach understanding a businesses customers and how to deliver value to them.
- How is this value delivered?
A summary of the Methods. Leave this for later.
The purpose of the SWOT analysis is to help guide you in the thinking of your business plan. This is your first attempt to assess whether your business idea is sensible and whether you have the skills and finance to set you on your way to self employment. SWOT stands for....
List the things that you consider the business already has. These can be certain skills that the people involved in your business have, the location your business will operate in.
Listing the weaknesses in your business is probably the most important step. If you know them you can take steps to address them. Weaknesses can include skills shortages in the people who are involved in the business, difficult marketing conditions, or long development periods. List all the weaknesses you can see, describe how they will affect your business, and what steps you will need to take to address them.
What opportunities are there that your business may benefit from. They could be changes in laws and regulations, a new market niche, the closure of a competitor, a technological innovation. List any opportunities you can see, describe how they affect your business, and outline what you might do to take advantage of each opportunity.
These may be competitors, economic changes, new laws and regulations, not enough capital to keep the business running through down periods. List the treats you can see, describe how they will affect your business, and outline how you will manage these threats.