The first and most obvious response to ” Which issues are the most important?” is that the devil is in the detail. Each operation in your in your business will have specific short term goals, but they must ultimately have the same long term objectives. If any one of these operations is working at cross purposes with the long term objectives you are likely to fail. Therefore, “all” issues are important.
With that as a given you must then ask “who will be reading my business, farming or marketing plan?” For each reader, if the answer to any of the issues raised below is “NO” then you will not achieve your objective.
If you are seeking investment capital and the business plan is to be presented to a venture capitalist, he/she will likely be looking at three critical issues: 1. Is there a need in the marketplace? 2. Is the market large enough to provide a reasonable return on their investment? 3. Does your organization have the personnel and capabilities necessary to penetrate and maintain a position in the marketplace?
If you are seeking a loan and the business/farming plan is to be presented to a banker he/she will have the following concerns: 1. Are you a going business with a positive cash flow? 2. Does your financial statements show a growing and profitable business? 3. Do you have collateral to offer as protection against the loan?
If you are seeking full management buy-in for the plan, each manager will want the following answers: 1. Can I understand and agree with the short term & long term objectives of the plan? 2. Is my responsibility in achieving those objectives clearly discernible? 3. Will the proper implementation of the plan be of benefit to both the enterprise and to me?
If you are planning on selling your business the prospective buyer will want to know the following: 1. What is the short term and long term financial value of the business? 2. Will this business provide new or additional leverage for me in the marketplace? Is there adequate synergy between our products or services and our organizations to ensure a successful integration.