POST OFFICE BUSINESS PLAN
When you buy a post office, Australia Post will ask you to prepare a post office business plan. The business plan is used by Australia Post to make sure that you are ready to own an LPO.
You can either prepare the business plan by yourself, or get us to prepare the business plan for you.
Here's a guide for preparing a post office business plan:
Every business owner, no matter how small or large, should know his or her destination long before starting the journey. Business planning is not difficult and, indeed, can be very rewarding when it is undertaken correctly. You do not need to reinvent the wheel when business planning. The secret to effective business planning is to see how other successful people have achieved success.
A business plan should be a concise “read map” and guide that assists all stakeholders in the successful and profitable operation of the retail business. Most importantly, it should be something that enables all people involved in the business to make more effective and informed business decisions. A business plan can be defined as a process of establishing business goals, determining strategies, developing procedures and resources to achieve these goals, and the system to measure the progress of the plan.
It also provides an opportunity to take corrective action if your business results are not meeting pre-determined targets. There are a number of key issues that should be considered when a developing a business plan and to this end, this guide has been developed for you to use when preparing a business plan for your Licensed Post Office.
1. Vision & Mission Statement
The mission statement details the goals and objectives of your business. It also brands your business and makes it stand out from your competitors. A good mission statement should be focused on the following benefits and outcomes:
- increase sales and income
- increase business visibility and public perception
- differentiate the business from competitors
- attract and retain the best clients
- build referral business
- allow you to control which business you want to keep and which business you will refer out to others
- thrive in all types of markets
- attract and retain high quality employees/business partners
The following is an excellent set of values that a new business owner should incorporate into a mission statement, established by business analyst Peter Montoya:
- Specialisation: a mission statement must be precise, concentrating on a single core strength, talent or achievement.
- Leadership: endow the mission statement with authority and credibility. People doing business with your business should perceive your business as a leader in its sphere of operation, achieved through excellence, position or recognition.
- Personality: there is some fun, charity and flexibility to make the business human and likeable to the average person.
- Distinctiveness: be different from the competition. Many Business Owners are guilty of constructing middle-of-the-road brands and mission statements so as not to offend anyone. This is a route to failure because their mission will remain anonymous among the many other operators. Visibility – to be successful, a mission statement must be everywhere and in everything the business does. It must be seen repeatedly until it imprints itself on the consciousness of its target market: the business’s owners, managers, employees, clients and Unity – the people in the business who are responsible for the mission statement must believe in it. This becomes a moral and behavioural code set down by the mission statement, which is mirrored in practices inside and outside the business environment.
- Persistence: give the mission statement time to grow; while you can accelerate the process, you cannot replace it with advertising or public relations.
- Goodwill: your mission statement must be associated with a value or idea that is recognised
universally as positive and worthwhile.
2. Demographic & Geographic Information
There can be no real certainty when creating and implementing a business plan. However, the business owner must do everything possible to minimise risk and uncertainty. When creating a plan, you must take all the variables out of the equation. How often in business do you hear people make comments such as: “I am a retailer, so I am going to open a store.”
One of the first things you must do when preparing a business plan is look at your proposed area of operation and determine the business opportunities that are available that will help you have a financially viable business and reach your goals. Once you have established that there are opportunities for you, your business planning will have a platform on which to work.
The most critical aspects of establishing any new business is to determine whether:
- What sort of annual income you want to earn
- Is there is enough business to be generated from an area?
- Can the proposed business can compete with similar businesses already established within your business development area
- Can the business environment will be viable for your proposed enterprise.
Visiting the website census.gov.au is a good starting point. What we are looking for here is for you to paint a clear picture of your local area in about 8-10 bullet points. Please don’t cut and paste from the Census information, read it and take out what is important to you.
To obtain some useful information:
1. Google Census
2. Click on Census of Population & Housing
3. Enter the postcode in the quick search
Some of the questions you need to research review are below:
- Your Suburb / postcode
- Where is the current post office located
- Where are the nearest Post Offices (your competition)
- What is the current zoning i.e. residential, light industrial
- What is the population
- What is the average age / gender of the population
- What is the cultural / ethnic background of the area
- Is English the predominant language
- What are the workforce statistics re fulltime/part-time employment
- What are the income levels of the residents
- What future development is planned for the area? (refer to Local Council for this information)
3. Personal and Business Goals Achieved
When setting goals, they should follow the following formula.
Realistic / written down
Example - “I want to increase the income of my business “– this is not a goal, a better way to write this would be “I want to increase my income on PO Boxes by 20% over the next 12 months.”
4. SWOT Analysis
Part of your business planning is to determine whether your business has what it takes to operate successfully in the current business environment.
A SWOT analysis will allow you to determine your businesses:
The aim of the SWOT analysis during the business planning phase is to enable a prospective business owner to leverage strengths, correct weaknesses, capitalise on opportunities and eliminate or manage potential threats to the viability of the new business.
The SWOT analysis classifies the internal aspects of the business as strengths and weaknesses and the external factors affecting the business as opportunities and threats. The identified strengths provide the foundation for building a viable business with a competitive advantage. The weaknesses, potential risks to meeting objectives, must be assessed during this planning phase.
An internal analysis to determine strengths and weakness should include the following criteria:
- company culture and image (brand awareness)
- organisational structure, including experience and skill of personnel
- operational efficiency and structure
- potential market share
- financial resources
- exclusive business agreements and management agreements
- ability to charge maximum commissions and fees for service
- product offering
- client service standards
Sample SWOT analysis for a new business
- great customer service
- skilled salespersons
- reputation of principal licensees in area
- enthusiasm and willingness to help clients and customers
- under-resourced with staff
- under-resourced with capital so cash flow is tight
- only basic equipment and technology
- location not ideal
- need to refurbish office
- 10% growth in population of the area in last twelve months.
- there are already eight other active businesses in the area
- sales volumes over last twelve months
- show that three businesses hold 52% market share
- other businesses offer lower prices
5. Staff levels
The lifeblood to any business is their team.
In this section we want you to review the staff that you will be inheriting with the business and outline their:
length of service
To do this it would be a good idea to meet with them all in a one on one situation, in a relaxed environment so that you get a better understanding of their future goals with the business.
6. Major Business Goals
The most important thing is to be realistic, as every new business venture is a challenge and takes time to adjust. Don’t set yourself too many goals in the first 6 months as this is a time to get to know the “operations” side of the business.
7. Specific actions to achieve goals
Example of Goal Setting
Goal: Over the next 12 months, I want to increase customer service and reduce waiting times. Build customers for life.
Specific Actions to achieve this:
Conduct a customer survey in the first month
From the results of the survey, create a SWOT analysis in 2nd month
Align staff rosters to peak periods
Conduct a weekly staff meeting to update team on new services and products
Provide an incentive programme for team regarding sale of product performance and in relation to customer service
Provide uniforms and name tags
Provide team training
Conduct a mystery shopper programme annually.
8. Projected cash flow for 36 months
Once the business is operational, you need to create another document to read with the projected cash flow that indicates the actual cash flow during the first few months of trading, highlighting where actual income and expenditure are recorded compared with the projected figures. This document is the same as the projected cash flow document and will indicate whether adjustments have to be made during the year. These documents are an excellent monitor of income and expenditure, so that adjustments can be made before expenditure gets out of hand. All businesses have peaks and troughs and some areas have seasonal fluctuations.
Here are some examples that may be relevant to your business.
November / December is a peak time due to Xmas
In Business areas – June with businesses buying up stock prior to 30 June
October if business send out annual company reports
January – relatively quiet month in most states with holiday /tourist areas being the exception
March – Peak month for an LPO with PO Box as annual fees due
If you want to save time and headache - we will prepare the business plan and cash flow projections for you. Every business plan we have prepared has been accepted by Australia Post. We will also prepare to answer the questions Australia Post personnel will ask you about the business plan and cash flow projections.
You can either prepare the business plan by yourself which will take you a few weeks, or get us to prepare the business plan for you. An fully compliant Australia Post business plan will be prepared for you for $1,995+GST.
Rather than spending a few weeks preparing a business plan, contact us on 1300 382 163 or use the form below: