People don't plan to fail. They fail to plan. Mark McCormack (1930-2003) sports agent and founder of IMG.
What do you think about when you plan these things?1 a holiday
2 a special family occasion, for example a wedding
3 an ordinary working day /week
4 your career
Which of the following do you use to plan your day or week? Which do you prefer? Why?
• desk or pocket diary • electronic organiser • writing on your hand • memory
• asking someone (e.g. your PA) to remind you • watt chart • smartphone
• notes stuck on board, desk, fridge, etc. • computer program (e.g. Google calendar, iCal)
Discuss these statements.
1 Making lists of things to do is a waste of time.
2 You should plan your retirement from an early age.
3 If you make a plan, you should stick to it.
4 There are some things you can't plan for.
Match the verbs in the box to the nouns below (1-5). Each word partnership describes a way to plan effectively. Use a dictionary to help you if necessary.
1- ____________ costs
4- ____________ information
Match the verbs in Box A to the nouns in Box B. Make as many word partnerships as you can.
A managing director talks about the planning of a new sales office in the United States. Complete this text with the words below.
1 A team-building weekend for your department I sports club
2 An event to mark your company's! organisation's 100th anniversary
3 A party to celebrate the return of a close friend after two years abroad
4 The opening of a new store
Listen to the second part and complete this audio script.
What is it important for entrepreneurs to do?2
Ian talks about an entrepreneur he met recently. What business had the entrepreneur set up?3
Why did the entrepreneur eventually succeed?What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing a business plan?
To plan ornot to plan
Which of these would you normally find in a business plan?
1 business aims 3 management team 5 staff holidays
2 opening hours 4 financial forecast 6 assessment of the competition
Read the article and answer these questions about the four people: Dan Scarfe - David Hieatt - Rajeeb Dey - Paul Maron-Smith .
When there's no Plan A
by Jonathan Moules
Dan Scarfe, Chief Executive of Windsor-based software development company Dot Net Solutions, says that he has never written a business plan for the company he founded in 2004.
Now, it is one of Microsoft's five key partners in the UK and a leading player in the hot new area of cloud computing - and to Scarfe, that is proof that setting fixed objectives is a complete waste of time. "Writing software, or starting a new business, is incredibly difficult to plan for," he says . "You're effectively trying to second-guess exactly what you may want down the line, based on marketing conditions and varying customer demand."
Whilst short-term business budgeting and strategy is vital , long-term business plans are less so." Twitter, Facebook and cloud computing were not even concepts a number of years ago, Scarfe notes, so there would be no way he could have planned for them.
David -Hieatt , co-founder of Howies, the ethical-clothing manufacturer based in Cardigan, claims that a business plan is really just a guess. "There are some brilliant business plans written, but they fail because the customer wants to do business differently," he says. "The awful truth is we don't know what will work."
He claims that the secret is to be flexible - although this often takes a lot of courage. For example, in 2001 . Hieatt phoned up all of Howies' retailers and said he was going to introduce organic cotton. The initial effect of this spur-of-the moment act was disastrous. "We lost all our wholesale accounts overnight because they said nobody would pay £27 for a T-shirt ,'' he recalls. so Hieatt and his colleagues managed to rescue the situation by launching a catalogue to sell products. It proved to be a turning point for Howies. ''Losing all your shop accounts in one day is not great for business, but it's probably the best thing we did ,''
Hieatt concludes. Now, the company sells 80 per cent of its products through this medium.
Others argue that business planning is often a reason for inaction .
Rajeeb Dey launched Enternships, a student internship matching service. "I never wrote a business plan for Enternships, I just started it," he says- although he admits that it is easier for Internet -based businesses to do this.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dey and Scarfe have entirely self-financed their businesses. Venture capitalists and private investors do not usually approve of this casual attitude to planning.
To Paul Maron-Smith, Managing Director of Gresham Private Equity, a business plan is rather like a car's dashboard. guiding the entrepreneur along the road to success.
so But even he admits that problems can arise when business plans become too fixed . "The aim of a business plan is to give the stakeholders a good idea of where
the business is heading." he says. ·'Sure, there arc going to be some forecasts in there that are not going to be accurate, but they are a best guess at the time."
Answer these questions about the four people
1 How many people did not write a business plan for their present companies?
2 Who thinks that setting fixed aims involves too much time and is not valuable?
3 Who says that some plans don't work because we don't know what will work?
4 Who thinks that planning often leads to doing nothing?
5 Who provided the finance for the companies themselves?
6 Which of the four is not against business plans?
Discuss these questions.
1 In which sectors is it difficult to plan?
2 How far ahead should you plan?
3 How often should you review plans?
4 What reasons are given for and against having business plans?
5 What is your opinion of business plans? How useful do you think they are?
Language Review : Talking about future plans
• We can use verbs like plan, hope, expect, would like and want to talk about
Coca-Cola is hoping to more than double its number of bottling plants in China
over the coming decade and would like to triple the size of its sales to China's
• We often use going to to talk about more definite plans.
We're going to open a new dealership this summer.
• We can also use the present continuous to talk about definite plans and arrangements.
I'm meeting the accountants on Tuesday.
Skills : Meetings: interrupting and clarifying
A group of international V I Ps is going to visit your company/organisation for three days. You need to plan the programme for the visit. Discuss these questions with other managers in the department.
1 Where will the VIPs go, and what will they see? (e.g. inside the company/organisation, local sights, etc.)
2 Who do they need to meet?
3 Where will they stay?
4 How will they move around? (e.g. transport)
5 What sort of farewell event/dinner will you have on the final evening?
a) Will you have food? What? (e.g. snacks? a meal?)
b) Will there be a speech? Who will make it?
c) Who will attend? (e.g. special guests?)
d) Will there be any entertainment?
6 What sort of gifts will you give the visitors?
7 What else do you need to plan? (e.g. the itinerary - will they have any free time?)
Consider these questions and note your answers.
1 What are the aims of the new magazine?
2 Who is the target consumer?
3 What will be the magazine's name? number of pages? cover price?
4 How often will it appear? (once a week? twice a month? once a month?)
5 What will be the proportion of content to advertising? 80%/20%? more? less?
6 Will it have any special design features?
Now listen to two senior managers, who will choose the best plan for the new magazine. Note down the key points they discuss.
The marketing department is considering these promotions for the first issue of the magazine.
In your groups, discuss the promotions and decide which is the best one for the first issue.
Suggest other ways of promoting the new magazine.
• Include a free 20-page supplement with four healthy diets.
• Sell the first issue at half price.
• Add a mini magazine with diet and fitness plans.
• Offer a 25% discount for an order of six issues.
• Give a full refund if a customer orders 30 issues but is not happy at the end of that period.
• Send a selection of body lotions and eau de cologne if a customer orders 30 issues.TASKWork in your groups. You are all members of the EPMC planning team.
1 Agree on a plan for the first issue. Use the key questions below to help you.
2 Present your plans for the first issue and for the new magazine as a whole to the other groups.
3 Choose the best plan for the new magazine. Take a vote if necessary.