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Tips & Traps for Writing an Effective Business Plan



Author:           Greg Balanko-Dickson

Publisher:        McGraw-Hill

Reviewer:        Goke Ilesanmi

Having an effective business plan is critical to the success of any business. That is why we are X-raying this text entitled “Tips & Traps for Writing an Effective Business Plan”. It is written by Greg Balanko-Dickson, a third-generation entrepreneur, Licensed Professional Business Coach and founding member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance.

According to the author, whether you want to start a business or grow one, buy or sell one, attract investors or obtain a loan, fine-tune your operation or restructure it, attempting to do it without a well-crafted business plan is like going to the sea without a compass.

This text is divided into five parts of 27 chapters. Part one is generically christened Introduction and contains two chapters. Chapter one is interrogatively entitled “What is a business plan? Why do I need a business plan?” In the words of Balanko-Dickson, “A business plan is an instrument used to document the intent and plans of the owner regarding every aspect of the business. The document itself can be used to communicate plans, strategies, and tactics to your managers, partners, and investors.”

This author adds that business plan has an equation structure of Goals + Research+ Strategy = Business plan. Balanko-Dickson educates that a business plan is much more than notes on a napkin or to-do list and is a roadmap to guide the business, its owner(s), and its employees on the journey to success.According to him, developing a detailed business plan will provide you with an opportunity to shape a powerfulbusiness development strategy, whether your goal is to get financing to start a business; get financing to expand your business; be more organised and increase your success level; identify the value of your business and prepare a plan for selling your business, etc.

This author identifies ten sections of a business plan as industry analysis; market analysis; products and services; business description; marketing strategy; operations and management; financial plan; implementation plan; contingency plan; and executive summary.

Chapter two is based on the subject matter of understanding the process and getting prepared. Here, Balanko-Dickson discloses that the benefits of writing a business plan are often misunderstood. “Yes, a business plan will help you get the money you need when you’re starting a business. But it will also help you make an existing business more effective,” educates this author.

In part two having a general thematic focus of the ten sections of a business plan and containing ten chapters (chapters three to 12), Balanko-Dickson discusses concepts such industry analysis; market analysis; products and services; business development; marketing and sales strategy; operations and management; pro forma financial plan; implementation plan; contingency and emergency plan; and executive summary.

Part three is summarily tagged “Writing a business plan in 30 days” and covers three chapters, that is, chapters 13 to 15. Chapter 13, like the whole part, is entitled “Writing a business plan in 30 days”. This expert says writing a business plan can be a time-consuming task. You are planning your business for the next three years, and you want to give it the attention it deserves.

Balanko-Dickson says the more familiar he is with the industry and market, the faster he can get the plan finished. He adds that you can easily minimise distractions in writing your business plan by getting away from the business to write your plan. This author educates that if you are unable to get away from the business, choose a quiet period of the day to work on your business plan.

In chapters 14 and 15, this author discusses common mistakes in writing a business plan and working with professional advisers.

Part four is based on the broad subject matter of special considerations for specific businesses and covers ten chapters, that is, chapters 16 to 25. Here, Balanko-Dickson beams his intellectual searchlight on concepts such as business planning for investors; business planning for a retail business; business planning for a manufacturing business; business planning for a service business; business planning for consultants, etc.

Part five, the last part, is generically labelled “Getting the money you need” and contains two chapters, that is, chapters 26 and 27. Chapter 26 is entitled “Applying for a business loan”. According to Balanko-Dickson here, small business loans can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, a business loan can help you buy a business, start a new business and expand your business. He says you will deal directly with the bank’s loan officers and major small business loans are reviewed by loan committees. The author educates that loan officers are not part of a loan committee.

In chapter 27, this expert discusses the concept of getting funding from investors, family and friends.

On the quality of ideas articulated, this book is outstanding. Stylistically, the language of this text is simple, yet standard. The presentation is unique in that it is didactic and logical, while the text is embroidered with graphics to reinforce readers’ understanding. Balanko-Dickson includes a “Tip and Trap” section typified by graphical thumb/hand manipulation in every chapter, where he injects extra information and guides readers.

However, the author uses the symbol “&” instead of the appropriate word “and” in the book title. Also, the whole of part three is already summarised in chapter one, meaning that chapter one could have been harmonised with part three. Probably this author deliberately uses this style of repetition to ensure long memory on readers’ part.

In a nutshell, this text easily passes for a masterpiece on business development. It is highly recommended to all existing and prospective entrepreneurs. It is simply fantastic.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425




Police on trail of man over homosexual practice



Men of the Nigerian Police Force are reportedly on a manhunt for one Mr. Okechukwu Andrew Ogbonna, of 2, Owoseni Street, Oshodi, Lagos State who has allegedly contravened the Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2013 by allegedly publicly contracting a same-sex marriage with one Mr. Joshua his alleged partner.

A source noted that the said Mr Ogbonna is now at large, and the police have turned to his aged mother and legal wife to ensure his re-arrest and prosecution.

The suspect was arrested on the 25th day of May 2022 after the duo were seen in a compromised position publicly and he was  subsequently granted bail on the 27th of 2022.

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Divestments by foreign companies presents opportunities for strategic partnerships, capacity building of indigenous players – FG



The Federal Government through the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri has argued that divestments by foreign companies in the oil and gas industry presents opportunities for strategic partnerships and capacity building of indigenous players.

The country has recorded International oil companies divesting i from Nigerian crude oil and gas, selling off their assets and seeking other revenue streams. Nigeria currently has five international oil companies still operating in the country: Shell Producing Development Company, Chevron, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Eni.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Amb.Gabriel Aduda at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, he urged stakeholders to remain calm and not be alarmed by divestments hitting the oil and gas industry.

According to him, divestments come along with opportunities and this opportunities must be given attention.

“We recognize that divestment presents various challenges but also presents opportunities for local capacity building and technology transfer.” He said.

The Minister urged the industry to embrace challenges posed by divestments to promote diversification.

He identified that the stakeholders must forge ahead with a vision where the oil and gas industry serves as a catalyst for socio economic development.

The Minister also reiterated the commitment of the Government to foster local content development.

He reiterated the commitment of the FG to promoting decarbonization, cleaner and sustainable energy practices.

The Minister revealed that the government is investing heavily in technology and fostering innovation to reducing emissions.

“To achieve this goals, collaboration amongst local players and communities is paramount to promote clearer energy initiatives and investments.” The Minister stated.

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IPPG seeks review of NOGICD act to promote competition, investments



The Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) has called for a review of some sections of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICD) 2010 to promote competition and increase investments.

Speaking at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, Abdulrazaq Isa, Chairman of the IPPG and CEO of the Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited said: “Our industry is witnessing a transformational shift and this continues to underscore the repositioning of our industry.”

“As an industry, we must remain focused and rapidly exploit our vast hydrocarbon assets for the economic development of our nation. It is therefore important that we look inward to develop the socio-economic landscape of our country.”

“The NOGICD act 2010 is capable of unlocking the economic potential of Nigeria and being an enabler for rapid industrialization.”

Abdulrazaq urged the NCDMB to ensure that local content policies are evaluated and fit for purpose and not counterproductive to the industry’s growth and cost targets.

The IPPG Chairman identified the human capital development requirement of the act as a case point noting that it amounts to multiplication of levies and invariably leads to higher project costs as the companies themselves don’t benefits from the funding dedicated to developing human capital.

He also explained that the multiplicity of levies though unintended to promote local content participation is contributing to low compliance with the act and divestment of investments by foreign operators.

Abdulrazaq noted that the oil and gas industry is a global market and thus as much as the government wants to priotize local content, it must also make the industry globally competitive.

He highlighted that the government must contijue to recognize foreign oil and gas companies as important as they have a part to play in technology transfer pending when local players improve their capacity to support offshore exploration.

The IPPG Chairman also praised the NCDMB ES for raising the bar in local content development.

He noted that the Practical Nigerian Content has always provided a platform for fostering key colloborations in developing the NOGICD for local content development.

The 12th Practical Nigerian Content Feoum holding in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State is themed “Deepening Nigerian Content amidst divestments, domestification and decarbonisation.”

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