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What goes into the Management and Organization section of the Business Plan?
Outline your organizational structure and then tell about your primaries. How your business will be managed and who will be involved is an important consideration in your choice of business entity. For example, in a partnership, it is assumed that partners have equal control in managing the business. In an LLC you make the choice of whether it will be managed by members of the LLC or by hired managers. In a corporation, the owners/shareholders may or may not be a part of the management team.
In any of the above situations, you will want to develop a plan for the roles of individual members. While individual member roles and responsibilities often change rapidly, you want to have a formalized chain of authority within the business. Remember, too many decision-makers and no single person with authority can be a major challenge to the success of a business.
This section should include the names, positions, and general biography of the key business personnel. This section will be incredibly important to outsider investors (angels or venture capitalists) who are assessing your business. Within the Business Management section you should include answers to the following questions:
- Name: Who are the key individuals involved in the management of your business?
- Title: What will be that person’s title?
- Responsibilities: What primary responsibilities does that position entail?
- Qualifications: What is their background and qualifications for carrying out their intended responsibilities? (This will include work experience, educational degrees, and prior experience in startup ventures.)
I recommend that you create a formalized flow-chart demonstrating the hierarchy of authority within the business. This organizational chart should be cross-laid with the key core operational responsibilities of the business. For example, you may split the business responsibilities into: Operations, Sales & Marketing, and Administration & Governance. Outlining the business in this fashion will give individuals a clear sense of their responsibilities. Further, it will establish formal chains of authority that will become increasingly important as the business grows.
As you add new employees you will want to integrate them within the organizational chart. Make clear the chain of authority and reporting. Outline both the responsibilities of each individual and their authority to represent the interests of the business. As the business grows you will gradually become more and more specific about the roles and responsibilities of individual members. You may also consider developing a plan for cross-training individuals for specific tasks? You don’t want your business to hinge or become dependent solely on the presence of a single individual.
This chart will also serve as credentials for business when approaching outside investors. These investors will want to see that the business is stable and that there is ample talent to perform all of the functions necessary to carry out the business’s functions and grow goals.
Professional and Advisory Support
When forming your business you will begin to forge relationships with outside parties who can provide advice and services to your business. Depending on your business organization, you may have professional advisors, such as a board of directors or you may have a less formal advisory board. Below are a list and explanation of some of the more common professional and advisory support for a startup business.
- Accountant – An accountant can be extremely valuable in 3 areas: Entity formation, business compliance, and tax strategy. An accountant will be able to help you understand the tax considerations that go into choosing an entity type. They can also help you understand the rules for business compliance state and federal income tax, tax deductions, tax credits, sales & use, transfer, deductions, capital gain loss, employee withholding, estimated tax payments, financial statements, auditing, etc.
- Small Business Attorney – A small business attorney is useful in a number of important areas. Entity selection and formation, contracts, intellectual property, employment law, securities regulation, business compliance & governance, collection efforts, etc.
- Insurance Agent – Depending on the nature of the business, you may require various types of insurance coverage. Common types of insurance includes casualty & damage on property, personal injury protection, professional liability, life insurance, health insurance in employee benefit plans, etc.
- Banker – I cannot express the importance of having a relationship with your bank representative. Many small businesses make the mistake of banking with large financial institutions, rather than choosing smaller, more intimate, local banks. When you are seeking loans to operate your business you will have a much easier time working with a banker who knows you personally and understands your business.
- Mentors – Find someone who you know and respect to serve as your mentor. Preferably, this is someone who has experience with startup ventures. Starting a venture can be nerve-racking. It helps to have someone close who has gone through this process before. This person will provide moral support more than expertise in a particular industry.
- Board of Advisors – A board of advisors is like a semi-formal group of mentors. Rather than providing moral support, these individuals help to guide you through the process of starting, managing and growing your business. You should try to assemble a diverse group with a variety of professional experiences. Preferably, these individuals will be a mix of knowledgeable entrepreneurs and industry experts.
- Board of Directors – If you choose the corporate form to do business, you will have a board of directors. Many closely held corporations don’t have outside members on the board of directors; rather, the board consists of the owners and key members. As the business begins to grow, you may have directors who are either equity investors or experts who you compensate with equity ownership. In either case, you should seek investors and experts who can provide the greatest degree of guidance and support to your business.
You will want to detail the names, experience, and qualifications of these individuals within the business plan. The primary purpose is to demonstrate to outside investors that you have adequate support to handle your operations and intended growth path.