Agency 19: Business Planning

18 min read

The nineteenth agency in the community is the Business Planning Agency. The agency assists businesses to define their objectives, and how they plan to meet them.

The agency forms part of the Business Development Bureau, together with Agency 20 (Marketing), and Agency 21 (Underwriting and Risk Management). The The bureau’s agencies enable businesses to plan how to operate, market what they produce, and mitigate risks associated with production to survive and prosper in the community’s economy.

The Capital Bank Agency (agency 8) receives investment in the form of partnership interest from limited partners, which it in turn invests in community agencies, including the Business Planning Agency. The Business Planning Agency uses these funds for operations, including delivering chargeable services to participants. From its revenues, it pays the Capital Bank a return on its investment, which in turn enables the bank to pay limited partners superior returns on their investments.

Business planning: Background

Business planning is the process through which new and existing businesses chart their short-term and long-term roadmap. During this process, a business establishes and defines its objectives, and the means through which they can be achieved. Business planning includes a few main points.

Market analysis includes considering the market that the business will operate in, including demographics, purchasing power, competitor analysis, regulations, and related variables.

Financial projections and implications consider the resources the business needs to start or continue. They also consider what the business will achieve in terms of revenues and business growth in the short term and long term. A third aspect is strategic planning, where the business plans its strategies regarding marketing approach, operational strategy, and financial strategy.

Business planning helps businesses understand exactly where they are, and therefore arrive at realistic objectives. By planning, a business can make better decisions that correspond to some grand strategy that the business is using to achieve its aims. Additionally, it can track its progress over time, and adjust its operations to stay on track where necessary. Business plans are an essential tool for businesses, especially new ones, to secure funding. Also, as Scott Shane and Frederic Delmar find in their study on the subject , business planning is a key determinant as to whether a business will fail or succeed in the medium term.

In the modern economy, most businesses die within the first 10 years of inception.  The reasons for their failure range from poor marketing research and strategies to inefficient pricing strategies, and competition. They also suffer from rigid business planning that does not benefit from the latest information and accommodation for changing trends.

The NewVistas community’s economic system promises participants sustainable prosperity, where they will be equipped to avoid the pitfalls that could make them fail. The community is also an investor in businesses and therefore has a strong incentive to ensure they succeed.

To achieve these aims, the community, through the Business Planning Agency, engages businesses to facilitate business planning. Besides requiring business plans for new businesses, existing businesses also draw up or update their business plans every quarter. Business planning is therefore a continuous process that is is constantly evolving to accommodate change and new circumstances, while maintaining the business’s overall objectives.

 Doing so enables them to consider current financial, marketing, and business operations information that shows where they are, and where they need to adjust their operations. The information has also been audited to provide both businesses and community public servants with a n accurate picture of how businesses have been implementing their business plans in the previous three months. By having regular adjustments to business plans, businesses can adapt to changing economic circumstances as they emerge, spot issues as they develop, and therefore largely avoid challenges that could make them fail or operate sub-optimally.

Each district has approximately 1,600 limited partners, and around 2,400 dependents. Some dependents may start their businesses from their 12’th birthday, and since there are no business partnerships in the community, a district will have around 2,000 businesses. The Business Planning Agency is served by 48 operational presidencies, together with other agencies in the Business Development Bureau. Each district is served by 2 operational presidencies of 8 presidents, and so each president serves around 250 businesses. Assisted by branch captains, they review business plans every quarter after they have been prepared by business owners, and where necessary, recommend changes to improve the business plans’ efficiency.

Roles of the Business Planning Agency

Rather than drawing business plans for participants’ businesses, the Business Planning Agency facilitates the process, such that essentially, it is the participant who draws their business plan, but with the help of the automated system, and where necessary, contractor, and Business Development operational presidencies. The agency performs the following roles to facilitate the process:

Collection and data analytics of economic data

Businesses that use business plans are twice as likely to succeed compared to those that go in blindly and make decisions as they go. However, even good business plans fail in many instances. Business plans’ failure is caused either by the failure of the plan to accommodate all situations, or poor decision-making that does not support the achievement of a plan.

Businesses fail to account for all situations because they have inaccurate or incomplete information about their business and the market they intend to operate. In the community, various agencies collect extensive information about participants, businesses, and the general economic outlook in and beyond the community. Because of the way the community econosystem is designed, with no leaks, it is possible to have near-perfect information to use in business planning, and therefore, ensure that the plans succeed.

The Business Planning Agency collects relevant information from other agencies and the market. Using its automated system’s tools, the agency can make sense of the data it has – providing valuable context and data analysis to help businesses make the right plans and decisions. Using previous data, the agency can make accurate projections about what the future may hold, and therefore enable businesses to draw up better plans.

Aligning business planning with current conditions and the community’s agenda

The Community’s economy does not operate in a vacuum but within the turbulence of the national and global economy. Even with the best market research, modern businesses may not be able to get the whole picture of where they operate, and they may therefore make errors in their business plans. The Business Planning Agency can collect information and identify the best way to design a business plan so that it considers these environmental issues. For instance, there could be an over-supply of carpenters in the general population, making a venture there unwise.

Within the community, it is important to maintain a balance between supply and demand for various professions and businesses. The Business Planning Agency can use the business planning process to ensure that this balance is maintained. The agency can recommend the best business plan based on these conditions and a person’s profession. In other cases, however, it can reject business plans that are unlikely to work because they will lead to oversupply, and consequently suppress prices and ultimately, profitability.

Facilitate strategic planning

Business plans are important for both new and existing businesses, which need to constantly check where they are and whether their current trajectory will eventually get them where they want to be in the future. Formulating and executing business strategies is an important element in business planning. The process involves discussing where a business is, where it is headed, and how it intends to get there. The Business Planning Agency helps new and existing businesses set and implement their strategies.

The agency’s automated system contains tools that make decision-making easier and algorithms that businesses can use to adapt general strategic templates to their own needs. The agency also works through operational presidencies and contractors to help participants develop and implement strategy, especially when the automated system is unable to do so.

How the agency works

Background on presidencies

Every presidency in the community is a four-member entity whose members represent one of the four major demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). However, a president serves the whole community in their role, rather than only their demographic. Presidents’ diversity and commitment to serve all is provided for in the community bylaws and ensures that all access services without any discrimination.

These four major demographics are evenly split in a normal society.  Each group accounts for between 23 and 27% of the population, with regular fluctuations as people’s status changes. The community appreciates that discrimination across all social categories happens based on marital status, other social categorizations notwithstanding; married men are likelier to dominate other demographics, especially single men and single women.

The community’s infrastructure promotes equal access to economic and social resources and opportunities. The composition of the community as a whole and those who serve it in the community public service is closely monitored to prevent numerical domination, which can lead to nepotism or unequal access.

Besides marital status, the recruitment to be a participant, and to serve in the public service carefully considers other social categorizations, to ensure racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual groups are well represented in the community as they are in the society in which a community operates. These considerations inform the constitution of the community public service. The diversity in community public service, which is provided by bylaws, is aimed at creating a community that is blind to all other considerations besides service to participants. The service is therefore designed to be free of discrimination.

Executive presidency, demographic presidencies, and bureau board

The Business Planning Agency is served by an executive presidency. The presidency, comprised of 4 presidents from the four major demographics, handles strategy formulation and adjustment. It also formulates and communicates operational procedures for the agency. Additionally, the presidency facilitates the setting up of the agency’s automated system and adjusts it as necessary to better achieve its goals.

As part of the Business Development Bureau, the executive presidency forms a bureau board with executive presidencies serving the Marketing and Risk Management & Underwriting agencies. The board acts as a check and monitoring tool for individual presidents and agencies, especially when decisions have far-reaching implications for the community.

Within the bureau board, three presidents from the same demographic form a demographic presidency. There are four such presidencies in the bureau. The demographic presidency performs an advisory role to presidencies and agencies regarding a particular demographic; it does not have operational or executive authority. The demographic presidency also plays an important role in the mentorship and training of new presidents.

Demographic presidency ADemographic presidency BDemographic presidency CDemographic presidency D
Executive presidency, Business Planning (19)19A19B19C19D
Executive presidency, Marketing (20)20A20B20C20D
Executive presidency, Risk Management, and Underwriting (21)21A21B21C21D

Operational presidencies

The operational duties of agencies in the Business Development Bureau, including the Business Planning Agency, are performed by 48 operational presidencies. Each presidency has 4 presidency – adding up to (4*48) 192 presidents.

While the three agencies carry out most of their functions through their respective automated systems, the nature of the services they offer is such that there needs to be extensive interaction between limited partners, contractors, and operational presidencies. For example, business planning is a highly critical phase of business development. It needs limited partners to constantly work with operational presidents and contractors, to ensure they are well formulated and implemented. This is the main reason why the three agencies are served by 48 presidencies (a total of 192 presidents).

Operational presidencies implement strategy and interact extensively with contractors and the automated system. Their recommendations to the executive presidency inform the executive presidency’s adjustments to strategy and the automated system.

Operational presidencies are organized into 12-member boards. 3 adjacent presidencies form a board, such that, for instance, presidencies 1,2, and 3 form one board. Within the board, presidencies from the same demographic form a demographic presidency.

Charts showing the 48 business development operational presidencies and how they are organized into 16 boards. Three presidencies with four presidents each form a board (horizontal rows in each board). The charts also show that each president belongs to a demographic presidency of 3 within their board (vertical columns in each board).

Limited partners and branch presidencies

Limited partners and group council

A limited partner is the basic unit in the community. A limited person, usually above 18 years old, but sometimes as young as 16, has been admitted into the community and has invested $20,000 as partnership interest, for which they earn a return. This is regarded as one unit of partnership interest. Over time, a limited partner can add more units of partnership interest, as their business prospers. The more partnership interest units a limited partner has, the more the return they receive from the agency.

A dependent is a minor, or a person living with a disability, under the care of a limited partner. In some instances, a dependent may be a fit adult, who for various reasons is supported by community agencies, and assigned by contract to a limited partner.  Limited partners are responsible for any legal agreements that their dependents enter into, either with community agencies or other participants. Together, limited partners and dependents are referred to as participants.

Participants who are dependents, because they are still minors, can start a business when they reach 12 years of age. This allows them to save up and invest USD 20,000 into the community by their 18th birthday, and possibly as early as 16. Limited partners and their dependents reside in apartments (village buildings). Each apartment has 4 floors, with each floor containing 16 apartments.

Each floor has floor has 7 – 12 limited partners, with each limited partner having 1 – 3 dependents. Each floor therefore has around 25 residents. With four floors, each building has approximately 100 residents. An apartment building also forms a branch.

Captains and branch presidencies

Of the approximately 100 residents in a branch, around 40 of them are limited partners. The limited partners form 4 group councils of around 10 limited partners each. Each group council is diverse, containing different social groups that are reflective of the society within which a community operates. Additionally, a group contains members of the four main demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D).

The council meets at least quarterly and provides limited partners with a platform to interact and discuss common interest matters to their demographic within their branch. One of the members of the group council serves the group as a captain. Four captains who serve the four groups in an apartment building (branch) form a branch presidency. A branch presidency’s membership is drawn from the four main demographics, for the purposes of representation.

Captains are responsible for recruiting limited partners into the community through their council and by extension, branch. The Human Relations Agency’s automated system develops a clear definition of the sort of recruits that the community needs. It then breaks it down to the most basic social organization in the community – group.

The criteria and subsequent recruitment process carefully consider that group’s current composition, that of other groups in a branch, other branches, villages, and the district. Therefore, while the captain has the responsibility to recruit, their discretion is limited by what the system recommends. This ensures that not only does the community achieve and maintain balance in all respects, but it also eliminates any chance that a captain would recruit through discrimination or nepotism. 

A captain does not recruit limited partners only from their demographic. Instead, they work to ensure that their recruits are diverse, considering social categorizations, gender, and social status, in addition to demographic groups.

Captains work in concert with their fellow captains in the branch presidency, and other presidencies in a village and district to ensure that the district is as diverse as possible. They are guided by present data on how diverse their district, village, and branch are, and what needs to be focused on to improve. They are also guided by community bylaws, which expressly require diversity as shown by demographic data about a population from which the community intends to recruit limited partners.

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Numbering system for branches.

The captain serves as a service extension of the Human Relations Agency, though they also act as an interface between participants and other community agencies. Captains help participants navigate the agency’s automated system and other relevant tools used by the different agencies to deliver services. 10 branches form a village. Each of the branch presidencies also belongs to a specific branch board. Branch boards provide an additional check and balance for captains and branch presidencies. Branches are numbered based on the village’s hub, in the direction of the breezeway one-way traffic direction.

A hub is formed at the intersection of breezeways between villages. Hub buildings are used for a range of commercial activities that need to be closer to residential areas, such as daycare centers, grocery stores, and emergency centers, among others.

A branch’s number determines with whom its presidency will form a branch board. Branch presidencies 1, 2, and 3 form one branch board, as do 4, 5, and 6, and 7, 8, and 9.

Four villages make a district. The last branch presidency in each village in the community (branch presidency 10) combines with three others in their district or cluster of 3 districts to form additional branch boards. The last branch presidencies in villages 1, 2, and 3 in each district make a board. The last branch presidencies in village 4 of each of the 3 districts in a cluster also form a board.

This can be illustrated as follows:

Besides belonging to a branch presidency and a board, every captain belongs to a demographic presidency of 3. A demographic presidency is made up of 3 captains within a board, and who serve the same demographic. The demographic presidency mainly serves an advisory function, safeguarding issues common to the particular demographic, and helping in mentorship and support for incoming captains.

The automated system is designed to help participants with all the help they need in matters related to business planning. However, should they run into problems, captains assist them in navigating the system, or direct them to relevant contractors who help them at a fee.

Automated system

The Business Planning Agency performs the bulk of its functions through a highly advanced automated system. The system’s major strengths are its ability to collect, analyze, and present big data, and AI tools, among them machine learning, which enables it to detect and respond to issues without human intervention.

When a limited partner joins the community, or when they need to expand their business, they need a business plan. In normal situations, they would write up the business plan themselves, or have a contractor write it for them at a fee. However, in the community, they interact with the system, which helps them draw up the business plan. This is not to say that the automated system churns out business plans at the click of a button. The process requires the extensive participation of the limited partner who needs the business plan.

The automated system helps limited partners access extensive, near-perfect information, and in recommending the best courses of action for the business. It also helps in real-time monitoring after the business plan is implemented, ensuring everything is going according to plan, and offering corrective actions where necessary. Business plans are facilitated by agencies based on their content. The agencies need to know of any deviations from the plans and respond to safeguard the community’s interests. The automated system is essential in relaying this information.

Contractors

Besides the automated system and the business development operational presidencies, the Business Planning Agency works through contractors to deliver services that participants need from the agency. Contractors mainly work with participants to navigate the system, and in offering solutions based on their expertise and experience in the community.

Contractors are limited partners who do consultancy work as their business. The services they render are paid for by whoever contracts them. For instance, when a business owner has submitted their plan with the help of the automated system, they may be referred to a contractor to fine-tune their applications. The referring public service, who in many cases would be the captain, but may also be a village president or an operational president, recommends them to a list of accredited consultants.

In other instances, the Business Planning Agency needs a routine audit of its system to ensure it is working optimally. They hire the services of contractors for these services and pay for the services.

Contractors are vetted and approved to offer the desired services by the Business Planning Agency. Contractors and operational presidencies extensively collaborate to help business owners, who, because of the very nature of business, have highly unique requirements that need more than just automation to satisfy.

While the agency aspires to perform as many of its duties as possible through the automated system, it appreciates that participants need to interact with contractors, and even with operational presidencies to ensure their business plans are viable. Therefore, there may be more contractors working to help participants with their business plans than with other areas, such as legal, accounting, or audit.

Inter-agency cooperation

Agencies extensively interact within their bureaus, but also within their columns. Community agencies form 3 columns, with the Business Planning Agency belonging to the first column. The Business Planning Agency coordinates with the IP Agency (agency 13) as innovators seek to form businesses from their intellectual property. The agencies ensure that the IP is commercially viable and is well prosecuted.

The Accounting Agency (agency 16) helps the Business Planning Agency to access and analyze extensive amounts of financial information and use the information to make reasonable forecasts. The Communication Agency (agency 10) owns all communication infrastructure and collaborates with the Business Planning Agency in instances where a participant may want to use any of the infrastructure to start their business.

Farmers and livestock holders need contracts with the Cropland and Pastures Agency (Agency 22) to access land. They work with the Business Planning Agency to draw up plans that they will use to secure the needed assets. In case they need space in the village squares for growing fruit or other food, businesses need to approach the Human Relations Agency (agency 1) with good business plans for approval.

The 24 agencies are organized in rows and columns. Beyond working in their bureau (row), agencies also interact extensively within their column. An overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Human and Financial Capital Department is here, and an overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Process and Property Department is here. A more detailed version of this graphic with some historic background is posted here.

Presidencies’ offices, meetings, and quarterly conferences

Offices

The offices of the Business Planning Agency’s executive presidency are in building 19, on the western side. The eastern side has offices for the trustee and the Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies that serve the Business Planning Agency’s executive presidency and District 19.

Trustees and the regulatory operational presidencies alternate their offices. Trustees have the offices in building 19 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the operational presidencies use the offices on Mondays and Wednesdays, as shown in this timetable:

Building 7/ Community BankBuilding 19/ Business Planning Agency
MondayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
TuesdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency
WednesdayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
ThursdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency

The Business Development Bureau’s operational presidencies have offices on the first floor of every district building, with 2 of the 48 presidencies (8 presidents) occupying 8 offices in one building. This graphic shows District Building 19’s first-floor layout, with offices for the executive presidency, trustees, and various operational presidencies indicated.

Working hours and meetings

The Business Planning Agency’s executive presidency, business development operational presidencies, and other community public servants work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. For the executive presidency, this time is dedicated to reviewing reports from operational presidencies and effecting changes to the system and strategies. For operational presidencies, the time is used for interacting with the system and contractors and gauging both parties’ ability to meet participants’ demands. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.

On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole board meets, where the presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.

Quarterly conferences

Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together in the same row.

Quarterly conferences are held in District Buildings 5 and 17. Each building has a lower and higher assembly court. The different demographic groups use the assembly courts as follows:

BuildingAssembly courtDemographic
5Lower courtMarried men (A)
5Higher courtMarried Women (B)
17Lower courtSingle women (C)
17Higher courtSingle men (D)

Each of the four assembly courts has seats for 480 presidents representing the respective demographic. In the diagram below each of the 4 courts is illustrated. The ceiling of each court has an elliptical arch that enables executive presidents, who are the only ones who make a presentation during the conference, to speak without the need to amplify their voices. The 480 seats are easily rotatable to enable presidents to face whoever is speaking.

Each of the four courts has an identical arrangement and number of seats. The exact arrangement of each court can therefore be illustrated using one court, in this case, building 5’s lower court that is used by married men (A).

Within an assembly court, the 480 presidents are arranged in terms of demographic presidencies of 3. The Business Development Bureau’s demographic presidency for married men (19A, 20A, and 21A) sits as highlighted in the graphic below. The 48 operational presidents for married men (A) are organized into 16 demographic presidencies, such as: 1,2, 3/ 4, 5, 6/ 7, 8, 9/ 10, 11, 12/ and so on, and sit together as shown in the graphic below.

Representations of hierarchical- and matrix-type organizations.
The structure of a hierarchical-type organization is shown on the left, and that of a matrix-type organization is shown on the right.

Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:

  1. Winning business plans are likelier to raise capital, and as a result, overcome one of the barriers that claim the lives of so many startups. In addition, research suggests that those who come up with business plans are likelier to actually become investors (Heberling, S. The Undeniable Importance of a Business Plan. 2019. 22 06 2019).
  2. Through business plans, it is clear to measure where a business is going. It also becomes easier for a business to explain its strategy, and ensure that its ideas are overall in alignment with the mission it expects to satisfy in the marketplace. Business plans also help entrepreneurs develop more realistic plans of what they can achieve, and what to do to get there (Berry, T. 10 Benefits of Business Planning for All Businesses. 31 01 2016. 23 06 2019).
  3. Normally, businesses consider factors such as human and financial capital requirements, market needs, and profit prospects, among others as they draw up a business. However, the community has a different approach, whereby the system also vets whether the participant’s chosen business plan is practical, given their personal information and attributes, including experience, professional lives, etc. (Dhanush, M. Factors to consider while making a business plan. 31 05 2017. 22 06 2019).
  4. Before coming up with the business plan, the participant will have done market research, and analyzed data to find out if their plan has any real chances of success. The business plan preparation process also demands that participants interact extensively with other agencies, which provide important insights on whether the business plan is viable. The process therefore enables businesses to be reasonable with their plans and expectations (Nationwide. What is the Importance of a Business Plan? 27 03 2017. 23 06 2019).
  5. Through training, participants are able to have additional and practical skills beyond what is offered through the academic system. These skills come in handy as a business starts off, and as an entrepreneur needs to formulate additional plans so that they can survive past the initial period. The Business Planning Agency equips participants with these skills, significantly enhancing their chances of success (Grecu, V. and C. Deneș. “Benefits of entrepreneurship education and training for engineering students.” MATEC Web of Conferences (2017): 117).
  6. Full employment refers to a situation whereby all available human resources are being used optimally. While this has proved to be elusive in modern market economics, due to information mismatch, among other things, it is expected that largely, this will be eliminated in the system. The Business Planning Agency will work to prevent oversupply or undersupply of any services, by controlling business planning (Kagan, J. What is Full Employment. 28 12 2017. 20 06 2019).