Your business plan is essential for your business – it’s your blueprint for the future. It sets the direction for your business and keeps you on track once you’re up and running. It’s also a requirement when you’re seeking finance.
Business planning is an ongoing business activity – you should regularly review and revise your business plan.
The Planning Process
Planning for your RTO is critically important. While you are not total in control of the future of your business, planning for your business in terms of growth, sustainability and risk allow you to take better advantage of opportunities that arise and prevent difficulties and failures.
People believe they have a plan for their business because they acknowledge the future or contemplate things such as how they might increase their profits. Knowledge does not always mean power. Thinking ahead will not produce an efficient or effective plan for your goals.
Planning is a process that involves the development of goals and objectives and determining how you will reach those goals.
The Elements of Planning
Planning comprises a number of elements and associated activities. Remember that when you are planning your business and completing this resource, you must think strategically and in terms of how you want you business to look.
Forecasting for your business
This will include predicting the future. What can happen in the future in relation to training packages, the structure of the VET Quality Framework? If not predicting you need to prepare for what could happen. Will you accredit a course in the future or will you stick with training packages? Will you seek Commonwealth or State funding through the Productivity Places Program, User Choice or other funded training arrangements?
Forecasting will require you to look forward and put effort into looking at what will or might be required, how you will market your products and services, what financial resources are available (outside of funding). What networks and other organisations are available to support the marketing of your RTO programs. These assumptions will be used by you to form the basis and the framework around which your business plan will evolve and are required continually throughout the planning of your business.
Setting your business goals and objectives
You need to determine the outcomes you wish to achieve first. Keep them broad (when determining your goals) and then be more specific when it comes to your objectives.
Designing and formulating policies
Policies are specific documents or statements that determine the way in which you run your business and how you intend to deal with problems and issues.
Procedures direct the way you do your business by structuring the roles and responsibilities of those engaged in your business activities. Procedures for and RTO should include enrolment procedures, training and assessment procedures, marketing procedures, financial management procedures, etc.
What business planning does is put some formal parameters around how you see your RTO and its place in the VET sector in the future. You will be able to establish a framework in which you operate and control from the outset. It provides you with the opportunity to network and research with your industry sector to determine the operational and strategic objectives of education required for success.
Establishing priorities and setting up timeframes and milestones during the planning stage, are key determinant of future success in achieving goals and objectives. You will need to consider not only what needs to be done, but when and how long it may take to complete each activity or task.
Finance and Budgets
This is a difficult area for anyone to forecast particularly when you are starting out. However, you need to be prepared for your financial and budgetary costs and restraints. The process will help you to determine your financial objectives and consider all possible areas of finance including, as mentioned earlier, funding opportunities and likelihoods.