Definitive Business Plan, The

Financial Times
Richard Stutely  
Total pages
February 2012
Related Titles

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Definitive Business Plan, The
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This comprehensive book will ensure your business plan is robust enough to start, run or revitalise any business enterprise.


Whether your goal is raising start-up finance for a new business, requesting venture funding from a corporate parent or directing operational management, The Definitive Business Plan will help you deliver the information the decision-makers are really looking for.


Accessible to the newcomer and detailed enough for the experienced planner, the third edition of this international bestseller explains how to tailor a plan for specific readerships and meet specific objectives, helping you to focus your attention on strategic planning as well as on operational controls.

This new edition has been completely updated throughout.

Table of Contents

About the author



Introduction to the First Edition

Introduction to the Revised Second Edition

Introduction to the Third Edition

Symbols used

1    What’s it all about?

Have you heard the one about …    

Who should read this book  

A quick fix or a longer-term tool?    

What is a plan anyway?      

Why bother?          

Key objectives for your plan

Your target audience          

Ten steps to a successful business plan        

Don’t trust consultants        

Who writes the business plan?         

How to use this book          

2    A winning presentation   

A concise communication   

Computer software 

Make it feel good   

First thoughts on layout       

Creating an outline document          

3    Getting down to it


When you don’t want to be a big fish           

What to do if you have several businesses    

Your list of contents           

The executive summary      

The conclusion       

Responsibilities – and the timetable  


Where now?          

4    Know yourself      

Taking stock          

Start with the basics           

The central objective          

Are you visionary? 

How did you arrive here?

Some numbers to please the bankers           

Building up value

The all-important management team

Business organisation

Business infrastructure

Products and services

Core competencies

The next step

5    Know the world

For or against you?

The next steps

Collecting information

Understanding the world at large

Business partners

The market – what you are fighting for

The industry – what you are up against

Competitive advantages

Now write about it

Moving on

6    The core of your plan

A strategy and an operating plan

Portfolio strategy – what businesses should you have?

 Business strategies to satisfy your desires

Strategies for department managers

Resource requirements

Strategic objectives

Documenting the strategy

Creating an operating plan

Documenting the operating plan


7    About these numbers

‘The time has come’, the walrus said, ‘to speak of other things’

Varying views of the same numbers

The way that bean counters think

The planning horizon

Looking back

Estimating the present

Crystal ball gazing

Software tools

Putting it to good use

8    Getting to gross profit

Breathe easily

Forecasting sales volumes

The big picture – the economy

Up close and personal – industry and product demand

Pulling it all together

Cost of sales

Gross profit

Writing it up

9    Getting to net profit

Where the money goes

Capital spending

Capital assets that you already own

Capital assets that you want

Accounting for fixed assets

Operating expenditure

Net profit

Other income and expenditure

Moving on

10  Funding the business

Balancing your cheque book

Balance sheets and cash flow mechanics

Balance sheet headings

Producing the paper

Watching cash flow

Using a surplus

Getting it funded

Debt or equity?

 What’s the deal?

 Putting a price on success

Does it all hold together?

11  Managing risks

Identify risks and improve planning

It’s normally like this

How many coconuts do you need to sell?

Marginal likelihood of shutting down?

What you need, when you need it

Will it pay off?

 What if?

The economy

If the worst comes to the worst ...

Grand finale

12  Getting it approved

Pulling it all together


What readers of the plan will look for

Those financials again

Final check on the plan

They don’t know what’s coming to them

Preparing for the meeting

At last, the first meeting

Meeting post-mortems

Follow up

Back to the drawing board

Due diligence

The contract

Cash in the bank

13  Now make it happen

Time for a break?

 From plan to reality

A change of focus

Communicating the plan

Where do you draw the line?

 Policies, rules and procedures

Who does what?

 Employee objectives

How much freedom?

 Financial objectives

Monitoring other objectives

Monitoring the world

Confirming and revising strategy and plans

Don’t forget the carrots

And into the next business plan

Trying to catch the tail


Appendix: Tetrylus Inc business plan


Back Cover

“Truly a practical guide to better business planning. The book is friendly and easy to read. An indispensable corporate tool.”
Peter N. Tan, President, Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific


“If this book had been available 30 years ago, life would have been a lot easier.”
Mike Brooke, Entrepreneur and Private Venture Capitalist




If you want people to part with their money, you need a business plan that has the substance to stand up to close examination. Whether your goal is raising start-up finance for a new business, requesting venture funding from a corporate parent or directing operational management, The Definitive Business Plan will help you deliver the information that the decision-makers are really looking for.


Now in its third edition, this highly regarded and comprehensive book has been revised and updated throughout to reflect the latest changes in technology, legislation and management thinking. It is the perfect companion for both newcomers and experienced planners.


Make sure your plan is robust enough to start, run or revitalise any business enterprise. Ensure you know how to:

  • Assess the current status of your business
  • Develop strategic and operational plans
  • Define vision, mission, values, core objectives and operating objectives
  • Create financial forecasts, cash flow projections and operating budgets


Richard Stutely has handled business plans on every scale – as a manager with HM Treasury (the UK finance ministry); a stockbroker and member of the London Stock Exchange; and subsequently as general manager of an international bank, where he saw business planning from a financial and funding perspective. Richard runs training courses, workshops, seminars and lectures for MBA students and corporate audiences. His books include The Definitive Guide to Business Finance, Brilliant Business The Economist Guide to Economic Indicators and The Economist Numbers Guide.