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What Is a Joint Business Plan (JBP)? Benefits & Best Practices

By 8th & Walton | on October 2, 2022

From small businesses to large corporations, the most successful companies begin and stick with a clear business plan. When a company defines its goals, lays out a path to meet objectives, and agrees on financial spending and expectations, it creates a shared vision and accountability to succeed.

Many businesses experience greater growth when partnering with another business. In the supplier and retailer relationship, both parties working independently would be detrimental. To create a mutually beneficial partnership, they must begin by defining each company’s responsibilities, expectations, and needs in a joint business plan.

What Is a Joint Business Plan?

A joint business plan (JBP) is the collaborative process of planning between a retailer and a supplier in which both companies agree on short-term and long-term objectives, financial goals, growth, and shared business initiatives for profitability.

Joint business planning focuses on agreeing on common objectives and aligning on a single goal or set of goals. The companies in the joint business plan must work together to accomplish a shared vision.

What Is the Purpose of a Joint Business Plan?

For retailers and suppliers, having a joint business plan can create a win-win strategy in growing consumer sales. An effective JBP allows suppliers to build stronger relationships with their retailers so both parties can mutually support and benefit from each other.

When a retailer and supplier recognize each others’ needs and agree on common goals, they can share insights to support each other and improve sales, customer growth, and processes.

How Does a Joint Business Plan Work?

Two companies can come together with a joint business plan because they have one thing in common: a shared shopper . Whether it is a supplier partnering with a retailer or a children’s clothing company partnering with a toy manufacturer, having the same target audience is the first element that brings the companies together.

The companies considering a joint business venture should then share their individual business plans and discuss their mutual growth opportunities. This is where the general goals and areas of support can be defined. Specific tactics and category strategies can also be fleshed out in early discussions before moving to the formal process.

Once both companies are in agreement that the partnership will be mutually beneficial, the joint business plan can be created. Formal contracts are drawn up, approved, signed, and the plan is ready to be executed. Periodic reviews and necessary adjustments to the JBP are recommended as needed.

Benefits of Joint Business Planning

Why enter into a joint business plan with another company? The benefits can be not only financial but educational as well:

  • Aligning goals.  For a retailer/supplier joint business plan, being aligned on goals creates clarity on all other areas of the business. Defining expectations on all areas from marketing to supply chain to sales goals leaves minimal area for questions. Agreeing on goals, no matter how and when they are measured, keeps both parties accountable and benefits both to meet expectations.
  • Shared resources and exposure. Partnering with another company can bring a new audience and a new platform. In a simple retailer/supplier joint business plan, the retailer can introduce the supplier’s product to its core shoppers. At the same time, shoppers loyal to the supplier’s product or brand can be introduced to the retailer’s store and website for the first time.
  • Greater return on investment.  By partnering with another company with a shared vision, the benefits above will provide a better ROI when the plan is executed correctly.

Joint Business Planning Best Practices

How can companies ensure their joint business plan is a good fit for both parties? These are some best practices to include in preparation for entering into the partnership:

1. Align Internally First

Before entering into a joint business plan with another company, all members of the business must agree on the benefits of the partnership. Recognizing the advantages and seeing the bigger picture is key. When employees are in alignment within the company, it will be easier to align with the partnering company on the shared vision of the joint business plan.

2. Create the Plan Together

When two businesses enter into a partnership, the joint business plan should not be built by only one. A company sending another a complete plan or just a form to fill out is not collaborative. Both companies need to build the plan from the ground up. Collaborating in the development of the joint business plan is just as important as executing the plan itself.

3. Set Specific Goals

Expectations for success in the partnership need to be specific. “We need to grow sales” or “production costs will decrease” are good goals, but too general. Keep specifics in your plan that are as specific as they are realistic. If one company wants to grow sales by 40% in the next quarter, this should be spelled out in the joint business plan so get early support or push back from the other company.

4. Assign a Metric to Each Goal

Putting a metric with a goal keeps the company accountable to the mission of the joint business plan. For example, if the goal is to grow sales by 40% in the next quarter, it would be wise to assign a weekly growth metric. If the metric is too low over a few weeks, the plan shows that action needs to be taken immediately in order to meet the 40% sales growth goal for the quarter.

5. Communicate Responsibility and Accountability

The joint business plan is the place to eliminate all guesswork. If Company A is responsible for providing labels to Company B, be very specific about the responsible parties. Clarify that the packaging coordinator of Company A will mail the labels to the warehouse manager of Company B on the first of the month.

6. Include Risks and Solutions

Planning for setbacks is key to planning for success. The joint business plan should include any possible risks or obstacles foreseen by either company. Having solutions in place for multiple scenarios makes the plan easier to execute.

7. Constantly Evaluate the Relationship

Joint business plans work better with trust, mutual respect, and a great working relationship. Keeping the relationship healthy between the companies and individuals relying on each other brings more success to the overall plan. Monitor the relationship periodically and work to resolve conflicts as they arise.

Joint Business Plans at Walmart

Walmart works with its suppliers to create plans for sales and category growth. The company relies on suppliers to bring insights to the table to spot trends and get in front of potential gaps in the business.

Back in 2011, Walmart created a joint business plan with Proctor and Gamble to pick up lost sales in air fresheners. This category was down over 2% across the chain, but P&G brought insights to Walmart on how consumers were purchasing throughout the industry.

Consumers had no problem going to Walmart for aerosol sprays for under a dollar, but would then go to specialty stores to purchase expensive candles in the same scent. Through communicating through the joint business plan, Walmart was able to create excitement around higher price-point items and show the shared shopper they could purchase the extra items in one store.

Positive business collaborations can be extremely beneficial in growing retail sales. Two companies sharing a common vision can build on each other’s best practices and support each other to mutually win at the register.

Suppliers looking for support in their Walmart business have found great collaboration with 8th & Walton. Our team of experts supports suppliers to improve reporting, analytics, supply chain, accounting, and more. To begin a great collaboration with us, request a free 15-minute consultation this week.

About the Author

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8th & Walton consists of retail industry experts with a combined 200+ years of Walmart and Walmart supplier experience. Having helped hundreds of CPG companies in their efforts to be better supplier partners to the world's most influential retailer, the 8th & Walton editorial team prides itself on being a go-to resource for Walmart supplier news and insights.

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JOINT BUSINESS PLAN: Top 7 Secrets To Successful Joint Business Planning&

  • by Kenechukwu Muoghalu
  • August 14, 2023
  • No comments
  • 8 minute read

Joint business plan

Table of Contents Hide

What is joint business planning, what are the benefits of a joint business planning, what is a joint business plan , #1. have a plan, #2. choose the right joint venture partner , #3. communication, #4. define the where, what, and how, #5. monitor performance, #6. build trust, #1. how ready are you, #2. choose the right partner, #3. source business together, #4. ending a joint business planning, what if i lack the skills to create a joint business plan for myself, joint business plan faqs, what should be in a joint business plan, how do i set up a joint venture in the uk, how do you split profits in a joint business.

If you have plans to join a joint business, you have to understand the ethics of this venture before you proceed. You will need to set the right objectives for the business partnership. You will also need to have a joint business plan stipulated just for this course. There are a lot of processes, but not to worry. This article has exclusively explained what a joint business plan is and how it can help your investment, coupled with a sample template that can help make your journey easier. Let’s dig in!

Joint business planning is a collective effort between a vendor and a retailer. In this form of business, the two parties will be involved in the open sharing of information. However, it allows the joint parties to reach common ground and mutually agree on the business plan. I will give it a simpler definition, I need you to understand the basics of this Joint business planning. 

A joint business plan can also be said to be an agreement between two or more businesses in order to pool their resources to achieve a goal. It’s just like two or more people running a business. A joint partnership can be initiated in any business. A sample of this can even be found in jointly owning a personal trainer business and turning it into a joint business. 

They also share the risks and rewards of the investment. The joint companies also collectively own equal shares and put their heads together to make their investment successful. They work with trends, initiatives, and forecasted market environments. 

People can choose to open a joint venture for multiple reasons. It can be due to a business expansion, a new product development, or moving into new markets, especially internationally. Or just practicing the adage that says “two heads are better than one”. 

However, it can be difficult to build the right relationship that can boost the venture. But with the right resources, which includes having a joint business plan to serve as a guide, you would scale through. You should also know that Joint business planning with partners has proven to be one of the most effective ways to drive revenue and establish joint accountability.

Having talked about what a joint business venture is, now we will talk about having a plan that will serve as a guide through your investment. A joint business plan is a document that outlines a business coalition of two or more companies. This joint business plan is divided into several sections which state the companies involved, their purpose, and their responsibilities in the business. 

In summary, you can say that the plan contains temporary activities that can help achieve specific goals. What a proper joint business plan requires is to incorporate each party and make sure they clearly understand themselves and their goals. After the plan is been created, it will need to pass through a legal review just to test its legitimacy. 

Read Also: JOINT LOAN: Definition And All You Need To Know

Mind you, this joint business plan is above and beyond a standard business plan . It can also help you plan some measurable objectives, execution tactics, go-to-market, target account lists, and more. This business plan can serve you well, especially when it is for a joint business. Keeping track of all your business activities is a must because other people are involved in the investment. You can try checking your partner’s progress once in a while against the agreed plan.

Top 7 Secrets To a Successful Joint Business Planning

When it comes to joint business planning, there are secret tweaks that can help you scale through. You know Joint business comes with risks because of its joint partnership nature. Partnership most times can be diverse language, increased complexity, diverse cultures, and frequency of failure.

That is why we have formulated the top 7 secrets to having a successful partnership. Let’s take a quick rundown on them.

It always pays off to have a strategic plan on standby in your joint business. Your joint partnership should kick off with careful planning. To aim this, review your business strategy to see if a joint venture is even the best way to plan and achieve it. Consider the businesses involved, and compare their strengths and weaknesses to determine if it is a good match. Your strategic plan has to also answer why you want to partner with what you need to achieve from it. Is it for geographic expansion, new markets, or funding? Being clear will make the parties involved work towards achieving their objectives. 

Before going ahead to choose a partner, it is wise to determine how well they perform. Find out their attitude to collaboration and their level of commitment. Find out if you share the same business objectives with them, are the people you could trust? Do they have a nice reputation? These questions are necessary to determine who you are going into business with. Do your due diligence checks and don’t spend time having lunches with them. 

After your little investigation work on your partners, and hold a common ground with them if they fit. Communication can help build a relationship. Ensure that your partners understand what the basics of a Joint Business agreement really are. Are they clear on the goals, human resources, and financial contributions? This is the time to meet them, have those one-on-one meetings with them, communicate and make the best out of it. If you fail to plan like this, your joint business won’t be stable.

Create ways of working to energize and unite the partners involved. Map out the vision, strategic plans, and the scoreboard to make sure that everyone is following a common goal. Provide a common working pattern that includes decision-making, problem-solving, conflict management, collaboration, and technology. Find a way to deal with problems that occur, and look for win-win solutions instead of trying to score points off each other. 

When your partners have reached common ground on what the goal is, then let the work begin. You and your partners should also establish a clear performance indicator that allows you to measure your performance towards the goal. You should also set targets so that you can keep track of any possible problems that might occur. 

To be honest, this is the most crucial step in these secrets. You should understand that without trust, your Joint partnership will fail. There is no need to paint the truth to make it appear nice. Every team needs trust amongst themselves. Imagine having companies merging together, having diverse cultures, languages, and interests without trust. How do you think that ship will sail? When you have trust in someone, their differences turn into strengths. You will also tend to encourage creative challenges just to promote collaboration. This is an important factor that should not be ignored in your joint business planning.

This is another important variable that needs to exist in a Joint partnership because, without it, things will fail to happen. Invest in leadership, don’t focus on the senior leader, because even those leaders at the pointy ends will do just great. The reason for this action is that leaders tend to be the biggest opportunity to shift performance. You need to have a strong leadership team. And they must trust each other, connect, listen, and engage like no other. 

Joint Business Plan Template Checklist

To summarise all that is been said in this article, we have also included a sample template checklist that can help you prepare for and plan a successful Joint business. To make use of this joint business plan sample template effectively, you have to make sure that you follow all the options listed below. They include:

This is a joint business plan template you need to check off your list. Determine how ready you are, is your business also ready for the change? You can determine this by researching on the activities of other businesses. You can also carry out a SWOT analysis of your business. Compare your working methods with that of your partners and also involve your employees, tell them about your new plan.

This is been mentioned again for those at the back. It is crucial to choose the right partner. When choosing you should consider their existing customers and suppliers, their behavioral patterns, and also the available finances of the partners. 

Know the capabilities of your partners, and discover which has a specified responsibility. It can be sales activities, marketing, or new business generation. Each company should understand what they should work for and see that they achieve it. 

Most times, we should consider all possible factors because of the fear of the unknown. Your agreement with your partners should make provisions for terminating the joint partnership. In your agreement, make sure to include an exit strategy , specified ownership of assets in the business, and distribution of any weaknesses resulting from the joint venture. 

We got you, just right in time. We understand where it pains the most and we also understand why you would have so much difficulty creating a joint business plan for yourself even with the provision of a sample template. If this is you, then you need not worry.

Creating a business plan from scratch is no child’s play. It can even be harder while trying to use an existing plan to mold yours. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, because we have created a ready-made joint business plan just for your comfort.

This business plan does not require you to spend most of your day trying to figure out one section or the other. All you need to do is to apply directly to your joint business and watch it blossom. No long talks! Grab a copy of your joint business plan here !

It is certain that having Joint business planning can be difficult and challenging with tons of risks to take. But there is always a way around every hard obstacle. If you carry your Joint partnership and nurture it in the right way while following all the rules that apply, then you won’t have a problem.

These rules can be either creating a Joint Business plan or following some basic factors that can help maneuver your way through the investment or even using a sample template. When you follow the rules and secrets that guide them, then your investment won’t be the same. If it gets too hard, then contact us here.

To acquire a successful joint business plan, you need to ensure that both parties involved are capable of understanding each other’s goals. They should also understand the nature of their business and customer requirements. When they are on a mutual level, their foundation becomes strong.

To set up your joint business in the United Kingdom you will need to check the exact legal status of the new business. You can also begin due diligence on your joint partners. Know the financial commitment and how profits can be earned.

Before splitting the profits in a joint business, you must ensure that all business partners are in agreement about the profit-sharing. It can be split equally or on a different base according to the original agreement.

Related Articles

  • SETTING UP A PARTNERSHIP: How to Start a Business Partnership In simple Steps
  • JOINT MORTGAGE: Simple Guide To The Processes
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JBP: The Brave Approach to Writing a Joint Business Plan

How you can take the brave approach to writing a joint business plan – jbp – with a uk supermarket:.

Writing a Joint Business Plan (JBP), creating Joint Business plans, JBPs, or terms negotiations, as they can be known, are all relatively new phenomena in the world of supermarkets and suppliers. Whilst some supermarkets and suppliers, particularly the brands, have talked about joint business planning for some time, it is only in the last few years that it has become ‘business as usual’. Now featured in industry news and some Joint Business Plans are published online – This JBP is for Tesco and Nestle in Poland.

The first moves towards a JBP were made when Category Management and ECR made an appearance in the 1990s with tools like the Category Scorecard. Hard-nosed buyers and sceptical account managers reluctantly dipped their toes in the water of true collaboration. Though, as Stephen Covey writes in Habit 4 win:win, the only way forward is together for mutual benefit. The definition of joint business planning is to work with a collaborative mindset towards mutual goals agreed upon for the benefit of the supermarket, supplier and shopper.

The Brave Approach to Writing a Joint Business Plan with a UK Supermarket is about helping UK supermarket suppliers to identify their true business objectives . Also, to understand what is strategic planning, identify the business terms and create a business plan that is worth having for both parties. Here are 7 brave moves that should be taken in The Brave Approach to Writing a Joint Business Plan with a UK Supermarket. This is because a supplier that does, will be best in class:

1. Stating the Blindingly Obvious – A Joint Business Plan is All About Trust

In Accenture’s free report on joint business planning, they talk of a change in mindset for both parties to achieve ‘Increased trust among parties’. And, of course, Accenture is right that trust is absolutely essential for a joint business plan to be effective. Plus, the IGD industry survey on Category Management Capability and Partnership of 2014, said that ‘Too often trust is the biggest barrier to putting any proposal into action’.

The challenge is that trust is hard to build and even harder to understand, particularly for people representing two large companies, where the aim is to make as much money as you can, usually by giving the other party less.

Discussing trust can be a sensitive topic and a brave topic to raise. Doing so provides a solid foundation to build upon. The simple choice is to either raise these issues now or to become frustrated when nothing happens. Better now because both parties are wanting to build a future together.

Action: Add ‘Building further trust’ as an early agenda point in your joint business planning meeting.

Purple trust equation for leadership skills

2. KISS is the Route that Succeeds Most with Joint Business Plans

KISS Keep It Simple Stupid acronym with kiss icon in pink

KISS is a mnemonic that is often said and rarely used. In joint business planning the watch out is not to write a joint business plan together where people spend days locked away in darkened rooms solving the vision, the big category problems, discussing shopper switching, the next range review, why promotions don’t work, and the ‘kitchen sink’. The challenge and the brave approach is to work on less to achieve more.

Scoping what both parties want to achieve is essential and then identifying the 80:20 of those items. The objectives will be easily identified and usually around, ‘To write a joint business plan that delivers x growth/market share/sales by <date>’. The scope is hard. The important part because it might be just to complete a simple one-page document showing:

  • Category Targets
  • Category Measures
  • Enabling Big Projects
  • Project Milestones
  • Ways of Working

This document could be just one page. But it is a bought-in, thrashed and motivating page. A page that both parties agree to start with and then review in 3 months. An 18-month plan is about the right timescale to tackle a joint business plan. There are those that will advocate 3 years and even 5-year business plans are needed. The challenge is that most supermarket buyers will not be in place beyond 18 months, and many account managers too.

Action: Agree on the scope of the joint business plan. Divide a page into two, headed up with the scope and then 2 columns; In and Out. Agree on what is in scope, e.g. Discussions that are big picture and what is out of scope, e.g. The day-to-day detail.

3. Naming the Big Project Outcomes is the Key to Success

In our Time Management Training course we talk with the learners about the importance of having a project list and describe the daily to-do list as the wheels of a car, and the project list as the steering wheel. Those without a project list fail to steer towards their KPIs and KRAs , preferring to work on the day-to-day, refusing to acknowledge the big stuff and claiming that they are ‘too busy’.

The same is true of joint business plans and the key is to define the outcome. Instead of writing ‘Promotions Project’, change it to a project outcome title, which could be ‘Promotions Adding Sales of £5m p.a.’. Whilst a subtle change, the difference is that if no traction is made the impact is obvious – £5m lost. Plus, it is less likely that the person will remove the project when the outcome is obvious, and the project owner can genuinely begin with the end in mind – £5m sales to identify.

Making traction on the big projects is essential to see early progress on joint business planning. For each big project, the collaborators need to agree on the first 3 practical and simple actions. These 3 actions will get the project moving. Even if those actions are to get together for 1 hour to brainstorm. Maybe brainstorm how to achieve £5m additional sales from promotions. It is imperative that these debates are not tackled at the Business Planning meeting. This is because it is ‘scope creep’. Which means that it is against the scope that was agreed. Plus, the meeting will achieve very little because too much is trying to be achieved.

Action: Change project titles to project outcomes and agree on the first 3 practical and simple steps for each project.

4. A Simple Dashboard Every 2 Weeks to Keep Things Moving

The experience of most people is that business plans are built with love and sit on a shelf with hate. Their examples have taught them that joint business planning is a necessary evil and ultimately achieves very little.

The brave move is to change your mindset. Get out of the self-fulfilling prophecy, by doing Joint Business Plans differently to the last 10 times. Helping to achieve that is a simple dashboard showing the Category Targets, Category Measures, Enabling Big Projects, Project Milestones, & Ways of Working and most importantly, the progress, with a short commentary. Ideally, on one page, the dashboard is published every 2 weeks. Fortnightly because 1 week is not long enough to see progress and one month is too long if progress is going off-course.

Motorcycle Dashboard with lights and meters

By having a dashboard the joint business plan is kept alive.

Action: Propose a simple dashboard that is to be published every 2 weeks, for the group to approve.

Free Download: JBP Template

Please contact us if you have any questions, 5. reviewing the joint business plan quarterly together.

A smaller team is a brave move. This is because, during the landing of Category Management and ECR in the 90s, the supermarket team and the supplier team would be around 12 people each.

Whilst this was more a demonstration of collaboration and ‘equalling the fight’ than anything else, progress was slow. Nowadays a smaller team can achieve more if they accept that their accountability is to get the information, persuade the other departments, and basically make progress, not being able to cite every other department in their company as the reason for not achieving the required progress.

A smaller team should meet every quarter with the only point on the agenda to discuss the joint business plan. These dates need to be diarised for the full 18 months. Again, the scope is important because the temptation will be to discuss the other 100 issues that need addressing. But bravely accepting that the joint business plan, if delivered, will achieve everyone’s goals, then this is the only topic of discussion.

Beginning with a refresh of what the joint business plan looks like, the agenda should look like this:

  • Refresh the joint business plan.
  • Ways of Working – Have these been adhered to? What else needs to be done?
  • Performance Vs the agreed targets.
  • Project progress Vs the agreed milestones.
  • Discuss the usefulness of the dashboard, not being tempted to make it too onerous.
  • Run through the actions stating what, who and when very clearly and emailed before everyone leaves. Our top tip is to capture actions on email as the meeting progresses. Not afterwards because each one is likely to be re-debated.
  • Agree on the date of the next meeting.

Action: Propose dates for the next 18 months and a suggested agenda.

6. Strategic Thinking is the Essential Skill

In the most recent IGD trading survey both suppliers and supermarkets ranked ‘strategic alignment’ and ‘long term planning’ as important now and even more important in the future. The supermarkets said that having these skills was what a supermarket would expect from a ‘best in class’ supplier. Strategic Thinking , as well as being one of those overly used terms and mystifying skills, has now become essential to joint business planning. So much so that job advertisements are asking for applicants to have joint business planning experience. Strategic thinking, strategic planning, and having strategic objectives are about being able to see the big picture, identify insights with high impact and make them happen. The skills of joint business planning are the same, as well as an effective use of some negotiation skills.

Bar graphs for Strategic Alignment and Long Term Planning for retailers and suppliers

The brave move would be to initiate a joint business plan with the supermarket and begin to implement this roadmap to category growth. Action: Read this post on strategic thinking and consider an executive coach to prepare you for your next JBP so that you are the best version of yourself when you negotiate, share your big-picture thoughts and discuss trust.

7. These Critical Meetings are ‘Must Win Meetings’ for Any Supermarket Supplier

Initiating, or being invited to a Joint Business Plan meeting, is pivotal to every supplier because, of course, terms are negotiated and the outcome will have a high impact on the supplier’s annual performance, but also a Joint Business Plan meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate ‘best in class’. Best in class for category understanding, shopper understanding, supermarket understanding, possible solutions, and how to manage these plans to make them work.

For these reasons, the preparation for a must-win meeting must be to achieve the old adage of ‘sweat in training, no need to bleed in battle’. Role plays are an undervalued tool for preparing and for getting the heads-up on those things that could not be predicted and are yet to happen. When millions of pounds can be at stake for one meeting, it pays to be prepared, and ask the experts for help to be the very best version possible.

Action: Book a role play with a suitable colleague/s so that you can sweat in training, or contact us for help. See our Fyffes testimonial for how we supported them.

A Summary of the 7 Brave Moves 

Here is a summary of the 7 brave moves that should be taken in The Brave Approach to Writing a Joint Business Plan with a UK Supermarket because a supplier that does, will be best in class:

  • Stating the blindingly obvious – It’s all about trust.
  • KISS is the route that succeeds most with joint business plans.
  • Naming the Big Project Outcomes is the Key to Success.
  • A Simple Dashboard Every 2 Weeks to Keep Things Moving.
  • Reviewing the Joint Business Plan Quarterly Together.
  • Strategic Thinking is the Essential Skill.
  • JBP Meetings are ‘Must Win Meetings’ for Any Supermarket Supplier.

What is your top tip for writing a JBP? Please share your view by commenting at the end of this article.

Creating a JBP that Includes the Required Elements of the Groceries Code Adjudicator 

Only 1 in 2 Suppliers has a written supply agreement according to research by the Groceries Code Adjudicator (Slide 16). A written supply agreement is often a joint business plan. Therefore here is a checklist of often-forgotten items that should form part of the written supply agreement/JBP:

  • Payment terms
  • Marketing costs, e.g. artwork, packaging, consumer research, or hospitality
  • Payments for wastage

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What Is Joint Business Planning?

Joint Business Planning (JBP) helps Consumer Goods suppliers and retailers build winning relationships that benefit both parties and improve the commerce experience through clear insights into the other's needs and recognition of mutual interests.

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Charles Redfield

Executive vice president and chief merchandising officer – sam’s club (walmart).

The symbiotic relationship between retailer and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies has, till now, been able to support steady growth based on demand alone. Now, as the Consumer Goods (CG) industry continues to shift away from organic expansion, the need to reach more customers and engage new audiences is more important than ever.

Let's dive in to some of the key shifts our customers are seeing in the retail environment:

Authentic challenger brands are continually entering the market. According to a recent  survey  carried out by McKinsey, 30-40% of consumers have been trying new brands and products during the pandemic. Of these consumers, 12% expect to continue to purchase the new brands after the pandemic. More competition = more difficulty obtaining or retaining market share.

Global supply chain stress has created a multitude of issues for companies seeking to keep costs down. Disruptions in labour markets have seen 15% of companies with insufficient labour for their facilities to keep up with increases in demand, leading to inflation re-emerging as a significant problem for the first time since the 1970s.

Changing consumer needs are not only encouraging the rise of new, healthier alternative brands but also instigating real legislative change. For example, in October 2022, HFSS (High in Fat, Salt & Sugar)  regulations  will see a crackdown on promotions for unhealthy food and drinks, which will have serious repercussions for both suppliers and retailers.

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Evan Sheehan

Retail, wholesale & distribution leader - deloitte global.

These shifts have caused retailers to change the way they do business; the traditional playbook needs to be thrown out and rewritten. The diversification we have seen in channels, models and store formats means that retailers’ expectations for suppliers have changed. And, as increasing numbers of authentic challenger brands come to market, competition has never been higher. 

For both retailers and suppliers, Key Account Management (KAM) needs to be revisited. A culture of test & learn in real time needs to be applied to contend with these new market entrants and, with “key accounts contribut[ing] between 40% to 80% of revenue for a branded supplier” in developed markets as indicated by this article by Bain & Company , the time to reinvent is now.

Major incentives for change can be distilled into these three points:

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In the past, the CPG industry power dynamic has often favoured the supplier, but this is no longer the case. Only 3% of retailers are in an exclusive relationship with just one supplier in a given category, indicating the clout they hold to sway access to consumers is higher than ever before. With a number of Consumer Goods companies falling prey to a one-size-fits-all to their global business models, they have been losing valuable ground to more specialised, relevant competitors.

For CPG companies, visibility at point-of-sale for their products is vital. For retailers, getting the product in-store to sell is their business. Having retailers being ‘on-side’ and aligned is game-changing for suppliers. 

But, as indicated in the name, Joint Business Plans need to be exactly that: Joint. If the manufacturers arrive at the table with a railroad agenda, offering little to no agency to the retailer, it will be too one-sided and off balanced. If retailers have unrealistic expectations, e.g broad assortments or 24-hour delivery, from certain suppliers, the equilibrium of the plan will be thrown off from the outset. This is where the value of insight-sharing cannot be understated; IGD asserts that both sides must 'be prepared to share information with each other' to achieve success.

Both CPG companies and retailers need to be able to influence the plan and offer respective insights to avoid creating a zero-sum atmosphere.

For companies collaborating on Joint Business Plans, certain proactive steps need to be taken to fit the plan to benefit both parties. Bain & Company have set out five key steps that they have seen Consumer Goods companies take to achieve 'more trustful and productive' relationships and provide significant value.

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Entering into a business relationship, such as a JBP, with a full understanding of where a potential partner is in the market is pivotal to a successful collaboration. Being aware of any weaknesses provides the opportunity to address them before they become an issue and impact your business. 

In turn, a complete understanding of your own business’ strengths and weaknesses before embarking on any external partnership is equally important. A Joint Business Plan can only be successful if it truly brings benefit to both the retailers and CPG companies; without this, joint commitment can’t be assured. 

This demands the creation of an environment where retailers and CPG companies can offer total visibility into their data, thereby enabling creation of target audiences and consumer journeys. As indicated by an IGD Industry Survey , ‘Too often trust is the biggest barrier to putting any proposal into action’. Data transparency reduces the possibility of down-the-line surprises and potential derailing of the plan.

While keeping costs down may be advantageous, it is vital not to lose sight of the top priority; understanding the target customer segments. 

Customer data extracted through the collaborative JBP can help maintain product stock levels, illustrate demand and identify trends in product distribution. Without this information, even a theoretically perfect Joint Business Plan will fail. Understanding who the customers are and what they are buying better enables CPG companies and retailers to produce and distribute - keeping the customer’s needs at the crux of their strategy.

It’s important to note that Joint Business plans are not one-size-fits-all; it may take more time to differentiate a plan to make it more tailored to a specific relationship, but the benefits can outweigh the expense.

Research by POI illustrates that 58% of CPG companies are struggling with retailer aligned compliance for store-level promotion execution. Clearly, there is a concerted need to ensure in-real time that assured promotions are being carried out, but 27% of CPG companies do not get any real-time insights into retailer compliance, forcing them to wait until the end of a cycle to make any significant changes.

While promotion compliance isn’t a new issue in the Consumer Goods industry, it can be a major roadblock to a JBP. With teams in the field, far more regular compliance checks can be performed and the information shared much wider, much faster. 

The dialogue between each party needs to continue beyond initial negotiations and agreements. Regular meetings provide opportunities to correct mid-cycle issues, where the retailer and CPG company can align on real-time results and solutions. 

Without clearly defined and tracked performance metrics, the success of the JBP is uncertain. Both parties need to agree on what data sources are going to be reviewed. Expectations must be laid out internally and externally, to establish what each side hopes to get out of the arrangement. This will prevent potential disappointment if or when unaired expectations aren’t met. 

It is also important to have discussed and agreed upon the terms and investment in the JBP. Going into a project aware of the value that each business is adding to the other and being able to quantify the ROI is fundamental to a successful Joint Business Plan.

As shown in the recent Promotion Optimization Institute (POI) State of the Industry Report , 64% of manufacturers have challenges when looking for data from retailers. When data is such a foundational element to gainful retailer partnerships, it needs to be shared. The ideal is to involve teams from across the company including distribution, sales, finance and marketing. Siloed internal communication can negatively impact information sharing and lead to failure of a JBP.

CPG companies need to leverage real-time insights pulled from a range of commercial data sources that allow them to optimize strategies based on their business goals and current supply and promotion constraints. This maximises the value of every dollar invested in trade spend.

Closely aligned with the tenets of Bain's Key Account Management Commercial Excellence framework, Aforza drives Joint Business Planning with an end-to-end platform of core functionalities:

Account 360° View : Gain a complete view of an account's hierarchies and key relationships, as well as visibility into all engagement activity across channels.

Real-time Data & Insights on Account Performance: Get real-time insights, from a range of commercial data sources, across all aspects of your key account performance.

Integrated Trade Promotions: Optimize trade spend and target key customers by displaying a real-time view into promotion performance, inventory levels, sales order insights, budgets & funds, plans & objectives.

Retail Execution Checks from Field Sales Teams: Leverage your teams in the field to check key account compliance and take promotion-based order capture with penny-perfect pricing on mobile; online or offline .

Digital Asset Management : Ensuring all important business documents are centralised and accessible against the account, such as contracts and Joint Business Plans.

Check out this demo from Aforza's Chief Product Officer, Nick Eales, as he showcases how leading Consumer Goods companies are leveraging Aforza to create productive account collaborations that unlock revenue potential like never before:

With industry-leading innovations and capabilities, the Aforza cloud & mobile solution continues to help consumer goods companies sell more and grow faster. Take the first steps now and create productive account collaborations that unlock revenue potential like never before.

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Joint Business Planning at WOW Tech

WOW Tech Group was founded in 2018 with the coming together of two industry leaders, Womanizer Group Management GmbH from Germany and Standard Innovation Corporation from Canada.

Their stated mission is to be the premier provider of pleasure products that enable people all over the world to increase the satisfaction of their personal and sexual well-being.

With Aforza, WOW Tech enabled Joint Business Planning by allowing Key Account Managers (KAMs) to easily set up and manage account plans and set sales targets across various KPIs. 

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Gartner Research

Joint business planning template.

Published: 19 November 2019

Use this template that includes a comprehensive set of tools to conduct joint business planning with key customers. Executive sales leaders responsible for account management can use the tools to identify and evaluate joint objectives, create a joint business plan and review progress against goals.

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Improve Collaboration and Joint Business Planning Results in 3 Steps

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Collaboration is on many organization’s strategic plans, with effective Joint Business Planning (JBP) being the outcome. Retailers’ and Vendors’ have the opportunity to determine mutual areas of interest and build their businesses in a collaborative way — namely by taking steps to improve Shopper satisfaction with a better experience.

However, effective Collaboration and JBP require more than a desire or written strategic plan. Both require that your organization undertake 3 consecutive steps:

  • Prepare your organization internally for collaboration;
  • Align your internal approach across your multifunctional teams through common training; and
  • Implement external Collaboration and Joint Business Planning.

Collaboration and Joint Business Planning can help both Retailers and Vendors manage the change that continues to dominate, including:

  • Changing partner needs and expectations between Retailers and Vendors
  • Changing market and Shopper,
  • Less resources available internally due to downsizing / consolidation, and
  • Increased requirements due to more and bigger data and a more complex Shopper.

Here are some resources to help you get started:

  • Complimentary Download: Collaborative Relationship Continuum Model
  • Course Video Preview: Collaborative Business Planning
  • Course Overview:   Collaborative Business Planning

3 Steps: Improved Collaboration and Joint Business Planning 

Step 1: be prepared internally.

It’s important for teams and organizations to first understand what collaboration is: 

Collaboration is highly diversified multifunctional teams   working together inside and outside a Retailer / Vendor with the purpose to create value   by improving innovation, Shopper relationships   and efficiency while leveraging technology for effective interactions in the virtual and physical space. (Carlos Dominguez, Cisco) (modified by Sue Nicholls, CMKG)

Are you ready to collaborate?  Start by defining your assets, prioritizing your opportunities and seeking out the right business partners. The questions below can help determine if your organization is ready to collaborate ( taken from the Category Management Association’s whitepaper on “Strategic Collaboration for Shopper Satisfaction” ):

  • What do you want to gain by collaborating?
  • Is your company set up to foster and support collaboration?
  • What multifunctional resources / data / technology / intellectual property can be shared with your collaborative business partners?

Step 2: Create Internal Alignment

Moving to a collaborative approach requires your multifunctional teams to be able to see the “bigger picture”, turn data into insights, think beyond brand into total category, and better understand the consumer AND Shopper. These responsibilities must be expanded to marketing, sales, private label and retail teams in an aligned approach. 

Alignment of all functions in your organization occurs through engagement and training in category management . In fact, training approaches need to change for most organizations, as traditional “point and click” linear approaches based on a new data source or tactic no longer suffice. In a collaborative approach, teams need to start thinking more strategically about how the decisions and recommendations they make align to the overall strategies for the organization and for their external collaborative business partners. This can be accomplished by equipping multifunctional teams with a common set of knowledge and skills acquired through training courses. 

Role-based training in combination with strategic training will help individuals and teams feel more confident they are making choices and recommendations that match with your overall collaborative efforts and Shopper.

Step 3: Move to External Collaboration and Joint Business Planning

Now that you’ve established where you are currently at with your Retailer or Vendor partners, you can undertake Joint Business Planning (JBP) — the “next level” in a collaborative relationship. JBP should build from foundations established in collaborative relationships.

In theory, Joint Business Planning is a collaborative effort between the Vendor and Retailer which involves open sharing of information. Shared information allows for the creation of a common, mutually-agreed-to business plan. But let me insert a bit of reality into this idyllic definition. From a basic level, it is a business plan that is developed between Vendors and Retailers, through sharing of select information. The plan should include expected trends, initiatives and the forecasted market environment, so that there is a greater chance for the goals and objectives within the plan to be attained. 

The higher the level of collaboration between the organizations, the closer you will move toward the theoretical definition of Joint Business Planning.

A successful Joint Business Plan requires each party to clearly understand the others’ goals, business and customer requirements. This shared understanding becomes the foundation of the JBP, with both businesses pooling their resources and expertise to achieve specific goals. The risks and rewards of the plan are also shared.

While specific approaches vary by Retailer, the following framework from CMKG category management training provides the key steps associated with most joint business planning processes:

jbp framework by Category Management Knowledge Group

Let’s look at the first step for the Retailer – identifying corporate strategies and goals . The Retailer, usually led by the senior management team, creates the sales, cost of goods and operating targets for the upcoming year. When you look at a Retailer’s income statement , there are 3 ways that a Retailer can influence net income:

  • increased sales;
  • decreased cost of goods sold; and
  • decreased operating expenses.

Retailers’ targets will most likely include initiatives behind all three of these components of the income statement to increase their net margin and income. Examples of initiatives may include new store openings, the current market, and private label opportunities for the Retailer. Other initiatives may be based on supply chain upgrades, information technology upgrades, or any other types of business process improvements that will impact the bottom line for the Retailer.

In summary, if you have properly defined collaboration internally and strategically selected your business partners upfront, you are less likely to run into problems. Problems are likely to arise in a Joint Business Plan if:

  • There are unclear objectives, one of the parties was not transparent in their sharing of information, or the plan was not properly communicated to everyone involved.
  • The partners have different objectives or hidden agendas in the joint venture.
  • One party is investing much more in terms of expertise, financial, and/or assets than the other party, creating an imbalance.
  • Different cultures and management styles with partners may result in poor integration and cooperation.
  • The partners don’t provide sufficient leadership and support in the early stages of the program.

Download the "Collaborative Relationship Continuum Model" PDF Document from Category Management Knowledge Group

The Opportunity?  For Retailers and Vendors to define mutual areas of interest, build business in a collaborative way, and improve the Shopper experience. 

Want to learn more about Collaborative and Joint Business Planning? Category Management Knowledge Group can help you, your team or your organization through a single online, live or webinar course or a customized program. We have some great category management training options available to meet your needs. You can preview our brand new, accredited  Collaborative Business Planning   course below:

Topics: Category Management , Strategic Collaboration / Joint Business Planning

Written by Sue Nicholls, Founder & President CMKG

I have developed over 150 hours of online curriculum, developed and facilitated hundreds of instructor-led training sessions, and had the privilege of working with retailers, suppliers and solution providers around the globe alongside an evolving industry. The challenge is to anticipate what's next and find ways to teach our students the skills required to compete and stay relevant.

Learning is a journey for everyone - individuals, teams, organizations, and yes, even training companies. You can't put training in a can, automate it and call it a day - it needs to evolve, be nourished, and continually improve. Through this blog and other channels, I share my years of expertise with our industry and believe that an open and ongoing conversation can improve any team’s capacity to implement business strategies that achieve their strategic priorities.

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Ten Best Practices for Better Joint Business Planning

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We recently led an alliance team through an alliance business planning session.  Through that process we captured a number of best practices that lead to better business planning and ultimately better performing alliances.  Here is what we learned:

  •  Develop the business plan with your partner.  Successful alliances are win/win/win . Your partners’ strategic objectives, resources, commitment and creative insight are critical to the process and to a successful outcome for you, your partner, and your joint customers.
  • Use the templates and checklists as stimuli for thought not a rigid formula.  Your alliance is unique. The value creation thought process and business plan should reflect that.
  • Build from the specific to the general.   You may find that over several initiatives you have 80% commonality, but it is that 20% differential that makes for a successful joint offer.  Specifics make an impact – generalizations put you to sleep.
  • Articulate the differentiation in the solution clearly, unambiguously. Contrast with the competition…50% more scalable than .
  • Individual value propositions should include specific descriptions of how value is created, so that a reader not in the alliance understands it. You will be describing the value of this alliance to executive management and other stakeholders.
  • Include customer value and metrics .Hard metrics on customer value ie. “reduces deployment costs by 7%”, gives you a compelling reason to get in the door with customer decision makers and energizes the sales teams to engage collaboratively.  Value props that impact customer business model are especially compelling i.e. increased competitive advantage for your customer. Focusing on your customer maintains common vision between partners.
  • Keep focus on specifics: – “saving millions per drill head” is a more powerful vision than ‘saving costs’; “ saving up to $5M per well” even better! Same for alliance objectives, again, the best have very clear, numerically stated objectives for both partners and customer.
  • For each metric establish a baseline “where you are today” and a goal “where you want to be in 6 mo, 1 yr”
  • Identify risks and obstacles to success and include risk mitigation and contingency plans
  • Evaluate your sales and marketing value props from the sales perspective.  Are they strong enough to compel you sales teams to want to sell with a partner?
  • Bonus Best Practice: Relationship strength is critical in an alliance.  Measure it regularly via partner health checks and proactively manage the relationship.

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It’s Time for Joint Business Planning 2.0

Over the last decade, joint business planning (JBP) between trading partners has been all the rage. Largely enabled by increasingly sophisticated category management powered by POS data availability, most B2B and B2C sales forces employ some form of these JBPs with their largest customers. While advancing trading relationships for many, there are still some common practices that prevent the plans from being true game changers:

  • Collaborative, they are not. More times than not, the “joint” plan is prepared by the supplier and presented to the customer to approve or modify. Because they are written from the supplier’s point of view, they favor their growth priorities and discount what the retailer or distributor’s strategies are for the category.
  • Not shopper or end-user centric. The plans tend to be product and activity focused, rather than derived from the needs of their mutual customers.
  • Short term in nature. Typically one year in duration, these JBPs are actually Annual Operating Plans (AOP) in disguise. Often weighted down by “rates and dates” this detail is critical for joint execution, but inhibits longer term big ideas from taking root.

So, imagine a plan freed from the shackles of minute metrics, activity calendars, sku-level detail and unilateral priorities. Rather, envision a plan that answers the question: “What would a growth plan look like if we were one integrated company?”

The answer is JBP2.0 and here’s what it looks like:

A disciplined, facilitated process that’s equally shared, collaboratively developed and mutually invested. Yes, you’re planning in the same room!

Insights, and more importantly their implications, are the bedrock of the plan with points of intersections across the trading partners being built into sustained growth platforms.

They have a three- to four-year planning horizon. Year one functions as your detailed AOP, but also contains develop activities related to longer term growth platforms. The balance of the plan creates a continuous arc of business building activities.

The Process Framework

It all begins with insight and data collection and analysis, first independently, then collaboratively. Deep dives into consumer, category, competitive insights, followed by rigorous polishing by each partner will produce their contribution to the joint work session. In addition, each team prepares an overview of their company’s overall growth strategies and priorities for the category.The joint work session is where the magic happens.

Both trading partners devote one to two days to create the plan together. The planning team should be comprised of cross-functional subject matter experts/owners from the respective companies. This facilitated session begins with insight share-outs by each organized by topic, with points of intersection noted and implications drawn together. These implications form the basis of the strategic growth platforms.

A recent work session between retailer and supplier identified common insights and priorities around e-commerce; multi-cultural consumers; supply chain efficiency and in-store experiences as shared priorities and eventually evolved into joint growth platforms.

The Plan Blueprint

During the latter stages of the work session, insight implications will evolve into four to five growth platforms. These platforms typically fall into three basic categories:

  • Growth Infrastructure – Foundational platforms are defined here such as data-sharing, joint market research, supply chain efficiency and increased sales effectiveness. Most require cross-functional collaboration.Market
  • Market Development – Simply, these platforms are designed to create incremental demand. Optimized assortment, shelving innovation, integrated shopper marketing, digital development and targeted CRM are frequently seen.Innovation – These platforms emphasize collaborative development of products, packaging and merchandising solutions. They have longer development timetables, greater complexity and require co-investment and commitment but also have significant returns.
  • Innovation – These platforms emphasize collaborative development of products, packaging and merchandising solutions. They have longer development timetables, greater complexity and require co-investment and commitment but also have significant returns.

These growth platforms are “evergreen” over the life of the plan. Initiatives on each platform will be planned, commercialized, and launched each year, but the platforms remain constant. The nature of the plan is continuous with annual reviews recapping the current year, making timing or execution adjustments where indicated and, adding a new year to the planning horizon.

Operationalizing JBP 2.0

The key to sustaining commitment and execution of the plan is strong governance. Because functional representatives were a part of the work session, enterprise-to-enterprise connectivity should be fostered. At the top, the plan needs co-owners from each side. Each platform will also require co-owners as well. At the initiative level, single-side ownership of works best depending on the nature of the initiative, but teams will be formed to plan and execute.

To garner and maintain support for the plan, every top-to-top’s agenda should revolve around presenting the status of the plan and specific requests for resources or prioritization.

One-page plans should be created for each initiative, complete with team members, resource requirements, and development milestones and timetables. These plans should be reviewed quarterly and adjusted as needed. From a broader perspective, the timing of initiatives should be finessed to meter the market impact and manage executional capacities of both parties.

A Relationship Transformed

Collaboratively building a long-range JBP will transform a relationship between trading partners. It will establish the supplier as the clear-cut category leader and the retailer or distributor as most favored in the channel. Growth will be accelerated because strategic platforms will be developed and activated with initiatives not feasible for either partner to pursue individually. Growth will be sustained, as a parade of initiatives march across the plan’s horizon, replenished each year for each platform. And importantly, profitability will be enhanced as costs are shared across partners.

Indeed, two companies, one plan.

Ric Noreen is managing partner of Waypoint Strategic Solutions , a boutique consultancy that helps clients worldwide design and implement channel-driven growth strategies.

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How to Create an Effective Joint Business Plan


For two businesses to form a joint venture, they need a plan that outlines the nature of the business coalition. A joint business plan defines the state of the companies involved, the purpose of the joint business and the partners’ responsibilities.

A joint business plan describes all the activities that these business ventures must carry out to achieve specific goals.

The relationship between the two parties and their goals must be clearly understood. After creating the business plan, it must go through a legal review to test its legitimacy. In your business planning, you work together in a collaborative relationship toward mutually agreed terms.

Business planning for joint ventures helps the parties leverage resources, reduce costs, combine expertise and/or enter foreign markets. A well-defined joint business plan is vital for any agreement and business strategy.

What is a joint business plan?

A joint business plan is a document that defines a merger between two or more companies. It describes the purpose and responsibilities of each partner in the incorporation. You may also see it as a collaborative process of planning where a supplier and retailer agree on both long- and short-term goals, including growth, finances and shared initiatives for profitability.

The purpose of a joint business plan is to design a win-win strategy for increasing consumer sales. This plan allows the partners to build a formidable relationship with retailers for mutual support and benefits. Having agreed upon goals, both parties share insights on a common vision for better support, customer growth, enhanced process and improved sales.

Business planning depends on interested parties sharing their plans with defined mutual growth opportunities. The partners can detail and share strategic planning, growth strategy, tactics and any area of competitive advantage.

The joint business plan is created once a partnership agreement is mutually beneficial and defined. Parties would draw up, approve and sign a formal contract before the execution of the plan. This is followed by a periodic review of joint scorecards based on necessary performance metrics to fine-tune strategies.

The joint business planning process comprises every possible logistic, including human resources planning and how to reach project milestones. Resource accountability is vital to building trust. Your best tool for transparent resource use and accountability is a resource planner .

If the employees of the venture will need to go to a different location, the venture will likely have difficulty planning their tasks and locations. TimeTrack Auto-Scheduling provides joint ventures with a transparent planning tool that reduces effort and enhances error-free shift planning.


TimeTrack Auto-Scheduling

Types of joint business plans

Standard plan.

This is often referred to as the working plan. It offers an overview of the company, outlines its goals, and details when and how entrepreneurs wish to achieve the goals. Such a plan helps secure funds, investments or loans. Within the plan, you could specify how you will use investor funds and their potential profits.

What-if plan

Sometimes things don’t go as planned in business. The what-if business plan defines the various roadblocks that a company might face as it strives to achieve its business objectives. The venture is largely at the whims of external factors, including the supply chain and stock market. You need to outline a predictable scenario to let business partners know how to recover their funds.

One-page plan

While a detailed plan is vital, there are instances where you will need to provide an abridged version of your plan. This one-page business plan outlines the summary of demand, solution, model, management team and action plan.

Start-up plan

A business plan for entrepreneurs, especially those in the early stages of their business planning, will need a start-up business plan. It is designed to give potential investors the bigger picture and outline how you want to achieve your goals. It often includes an executive summary, background, product and service descriptions, market analysis, costs and financial projections.

Expansion plan

This is a business plan that’s necessary when you need to scale your business and identify the necessary resources for its development. These could be financial investment, an additional workforce, new products or raw materials. This plan will detail the business background, needed resources and how they will contribute to growth and business expansion.

Operational plan

An operational business plan revolves around near-term goals , especially those you will work towards achieving within a year. It defines the activities your venture will focus on and emphasizes the role of the workforce and budgeting in achieving the operational goals. In most situations, the heads of departments are key participants in the operational plans because of the need for approval in achieving the goals.

Strategic business plan

This is different from the others because it focuses on how departments can work together. This venture plan is more comprehensive and requires senior-level approval before implementing goals. This plan answers the questions of how to achieve goals, what resources are needed and the execution plans for achieving the goals.


Joint business planning tips

Companies that benefit from a joint business plan

A joint venture exists mainly as a contract between new cooperating partners. In forming a joint venture, each of the business partners agrees to the assets they will bring to the table and how income and expenses will be shared.

While a joint venture is a corporation between two or more entities, each of the companies, be it an individual, company, corporation or group of individuals, still has its original legal status, though not all joint ventures result in a new business entity. These companies could be sole proprietorships or partnerships, limited partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies or non-profit organizations.

Examples of a joint business plan

Perhaps you have an online venture selling high-quality products at reasonable prices, while needing to increase brand strength. Such an example of a joint business plan outlines a company overview, executive summary, product and service offerings, marketing strategy, market analysis, budget and financial planning.

A joint business plan may be designed for ventures rendering menu services such as lattes, espresso, coffee, cappuccinos, and sandwiches. The business plan outlines an executive summary and studies your competition , target market, marketing plan, ownership structure and operational plan.

A joint venture could be designed around offering services such as shipping, faxing, postal and copying to residents to conduct research , create debate space and generate ideas. This example of a business plan will include an executive summary, a vision and mission statement, goals, objectives, and measures, organizational structure, marketing analysis and a financial plan.

Top strategies for effective joint business plan

In a joint business venture, there are risks which include rising complexity, cultural diversity, high failure rates and language diversity. The strategies detailed below will benefit the venture in navigating the challenges through effective joint business planning.

Strategic plan

Strategic global planning is an effective business practice for entering a new market. It helps to identify opportunities and threats. Before beginning strategic planning, be sure that a joint venture is the right action for you. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of the partners to confirm a good match. Your strategic plan should explain why you want to collaborate with that partner and what you hope to achieve, how to monitor trends and collect good data. Some of the reasons you may wish for a new joint partner may be to enter a new market, geographic expansion, financing, etc.

The right partner

The choice of partner is crucial, but what is more important is understanding the effectiveness of partners in delivering on their promises. Do your due diligence on your partner’s attitude toward collaboration, performance and level of commitment. What about sharing the same objectives?

Effective communication for a great relationship

After your investigation, if you deem the partner fit, find mutual ground. Communication is the key to a good relationship. Make sure your partner understands the foundation of the joint venture and agreement. Ensure they agree on human resources, financial contributions and goals. To consolidate the stability of your venture, be upfront, honest and transparent about your objectives.

Clarify how, what, and where

Be clear on the vision, strategic plans and scoreboard to ensure that everyone is energized and united about the goal. Define a common working pattern. This has to include conflict management, decision-making, collaboration, problem-solving and technology strategies. Focus on win-win solutions.

Track performance

Is everyone putting in the hours and making productive headway? One way to gauge this information is by time tracking. One of the challenges for companies whose employees work in shifts and in different locations is tracking attendance. TimeTrack Attendance Tracking helps companies monitor employees’ work hours and leave days, so that managers can stay up to date on potential delays.


TimeTrack Attendance Tracking

Once you have set out the goals and vision for the new venture, establish key performance indicators, the data you want to track and the process to measure those performance metrics. This involves creating a joint scorecard for each metric against trends and competition. The targets you set must guard against possible problems the partners might encounter.

Build trust

Your best joint business strategy is to build trust and create value, without which your partnership is bound to fail. Trust is the foundation of every partnership. It is an important factor in business planning. Without it, neither partner can succeed. How do you manage diverse cultures, interests and languages if the partners lack trust? Trust builds team strength and encourages creativity while promoting collaboration.

Good leadership

The cost of poor leadership is so high that you must not venture into joint partnership without assurance of good leadership. Focus on building good leadership and not just creating “bosses”. Leadership presents the biggest opportunities to change the performance narrative. Create a strong leadership team, from whom all employees can learn.

A joint business venture is not without its challenges. To ensure a successful collaboration, focus on a clear strategy, excellent communication, transparency and strong leadership.


I am a researcher, writer, and self-published author. Over the last 9 years, I have dedicated my time to delivering unique content to startups and non-governmental organizations and have covered several topics, including wellness, technology, and entrepreneurship. I am now passionate about how time efficiency affects productivity, business performance, and profitability.

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How to Write a Joint Venture Business Plan in 2023

A joint venture business plan is a document that defines a business arrangement between two or more companies. Just as with a normal business plan, this plan also includes numerous sections and extensively describes the aim, companies, and responsibilities of each company in the joint venture. This plan also outlines temporary activities that help to attain specific goals.

Coming together to form a joint venture is nothing new in the business world. However, the real deal is to have an arrangement that equally protects the interests of each party so that everyone in the joint venture can put their best creative foot forward. Have it in mind that the best way to guarantee all parties understand their obligations and are fully participating is to put together a detailed joint venture business plan .

Although each company in the venture can put together the business plan, a legal review is often recommended to validate if the plan is legitimate. These plans are also known to be above and beyond a standard business plan. Most often, the plans will vary based on the specifics and interests of each party in the arrangement.

Steps to Write a Joint Venture Business Plan

Forming a joint venture involves several critical steps that begin with identifying and analyzing a viable joint venture partner to agree with. This sort of agreement requires well-detailed documentation and other allied/ancillary agreements. To write a solid joint venture business plan, here are steps to take;

Table of Content

Step 1: Write a Detailed Company Profile

Step 2: spell out your marketing strategies, step 3: input your financial projections, step 4: your executive summary, definitions, parties to the joint venture, nature of the relationship, business objectives and purpose of the joint venture, the structure of the joint venture, parties’ contributions, distribution of shares, rights and obligations of the parties, representation and warranties, indemnity clause, dispute resolution, non-compete clause, confidentiality, force majeure, termination, exit mechanism, deadlock resolution, financial and administrative record keeping, intellectual property.

Although this wouldn’t be the first page of your joint venture business plan, it is often recommended you start the writing process by first providing a brief description of each company involved in the joint venture. You have to include the management teams of each company, the resources, or goods available, and every other detail vital to the joint venture.

Consider creating a profile to briefly describe the partners in the agreement. You should also outline the expertise of each company and the reason for inclusion in the joint venture. You may also have to write a statement on the purpose of the joint venture as well.

The next step will be to discuss the market strategies you intend to leverage to achieve success for the joint venture. Just as with a normal business plan, it needs to define the market the goods and services are meant for. This section will also need to contain a thoroughly done analysis, graphs, and all other vital information that describes the market and why the joint venture will attain success.

Most often, companies in the agreement are advised to cooperate on this section to put together an analysis from each partner. Have in mind that the length and detail of this section will depend on the purpose of the joint venture; a competitive analysis may also be necessary.

Note that every joint venture business plan is expected to include financial projections. While this may be the final section of the business plan, it will include information specific to product prices and cost of goods or services sold, and possible expenses from the activities.

You may need to include Pro forma financial statements in this section. Note that these statements provide a formal look at potential profits and let banks or lenders properly evaluate the venture’s possibility for success. Other statements or documents may also be included in this section.

Although the Executive Summary will be the first page of the joint venture business plan, it is always recommended you write it last. This page of your joint venture business plan provides a concise view of the business agreement. Depending on the joint venture activities, the section of the business plan will span anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few pages.

Important Clauses to Include in a Joint Venture Business Plan

A joint venture business plan is the bedrock of any joint venture. It outlines the objective and purpose of the joint venture. Have in mind there are ideal clauses a joint venture agreement is expected to contain. Here are very important clauses that should be inserted in the joint venture business plan:

It is critical for every business plan to have a clause that defines all the necessary terms in the plan. This is primarily to avoid any form of misunderstanding and misinterpretation in the plan. Have it in mind that certain words or terms are given confining definitions for the purpose of interpretation of the plan. This clause will help guarantee a mutual understanding between the parties as to what a certain term means.

A joint venture business plan is meant to identify all the parties involved in a joint venture. Have in mind that there is a possibility that the original party won’t be the investing party, and the investing party may be the parent company of the original party. In such circumstances, this clause is very necessary to ensure that the joint venture agreement is binding to the investing parties as well as the original parties.

This is one of the most vital functions of the joint venture business plan. This clause in a business plan is meant is to outline the nature of the relationship between the joint partners, whether the parties owe any contractual obligations to one another, or whether the arrangement is just a contractual relationship where each party remains at arm’s length.

Note that this clause outlines the purpose why the joint venture was established. There are numerous reasons why businesses enter into a joint venture, from expanding their markets to completing a specific project. The purpose of the joint venture will need to be extensively considered before proceeding with finding a joint venture partner.

This clause will have to include details about what structure the joint venture will be, such as an LLC, LLP, or incorporated. This clause shall also contain the details of the formation of the joint venture thereof. It shall also mention the registered office and the location where the joint venture will be carrying out its business.

This clause will note if the work will be split 50/50, who’s bringing what to the table, and what you can expect from the other person or company. Outlining this in your joint venture business plan in detail will ensure that all partner’s expectations are aligned. This is to ensure that each party understands what they will be committing to the venture, and also to ensure that they are bound by that commitment.

The shareholding of all the partners will have to be outlined under this clause. Note that the distribution of shares is a very important aspect as the shareholdings will more or less dictate the proportion of ownership among shareholders.

Note that distributions of shares must not be 50:50; they can vary depending on the agreement between all parties. The shares can be distributed by a mutually agreed ratio or based on the capital contribution of the parties.

Indeed every party in a joint venture has certain rights that they can exercise and certain obligations. In the joint venture business plan, this clause will have to explain in detail everything that is expected from the parties. This is to limit or avoid future disputes and misunderstandings.

Joint venture business plans will need to explain who will manage the venture and take care of its day-to-day operations. It will also specify different levels of approval for different types of decisions.

Some joint ventures agree to establish a management committee instead of appointing the board of directors where the joint venture has been entered into for a particular short-term project. The mode of management needs to be explicitly outlined in the joint venture business plan.

Note that these are statements of fact made by the parties entering into the joint venture. Representations and warranties are more or less made before entering into an agreement and such representations and warranties will also have to be mentioned in the joint venture business plan.

Representations and warranties are necessary so that the parties have adequate and vital information about each other such as financial standings of the parties or the loans taken by the parties, pending litigation, etc.

Indemnity is a legal obligation on the parties to compensate the other party in case of breach of any contractual obligation. Most often, the party that suffers due to a breach of representations and warranties is entitled to be indemnified for the losses. Have it in mind that the indemnity clause will have to be fair, mutually agreed upon, and well balanced. The language and scope of this clause will also need to be clear and precise.

In all business arrangements, there are bound to have disagreements and issues. While these issues will not always lead to litigation, it is recommended that all parties agree on a mechanism to deal with such situations.

Each party in a joint venture can be from different jurisdictions and governed by varying laws. Therefore the mechanism to resort to in case a dispute arises will need to be mutually agreed upon by the parties and explicitly noted in the plan.

This is a very important clause to include in a joint venture business plan. Depending on the nature of the agreement, it might be necessary to note that the two businesses are restricted from directly competing with one another, at least for a stipulated time. However, the non-compete clause will need to be reasonable otherwise it might be treated as a violation of a person’s fundamental right to trade.

Within a joint venture agreement, parties are expected to disclose certain vital information concerning the company. Note that this information can be related to technology, trade secrets, or intellectual property. The information in the wrong hands might cause the party to incur massive losses.

This is why this clause is very important in a joint venture business plan. The clause may also need to provide that the information disclosed for the joint venture should never be used for personal gains.

This clause is used to provide relief and protection to a party in a situation where the party is unable to meet some of its obligations. Note that this inability to fulfill obligations may be due to events that are totally beyond the control of the parties. The event could be a flood or an earthquake or a fire so on and so forth.

You need to understand that not every joint venture survives long and is often terminated. Owing to that, this clause will have to be included in the joint venture business plan. The termination clause centers on instances, breaches, or the occurrence of which the joint venture will be terminated.

Even while still under an agreement, there can be many reasons why the parties would want to exit the joint venture. This could include short of funds or the joint venture going into a loss for some time. It is very common for a party to want out of the joint venture, maybe due to certain unresolved issues. Owing to that, the exit mechanism will need to be noted in the joint venture plan.

Deadlocks tend to arise when the parties in the joint venture have equal powers and are finding it hard to agree on a common conclusion.

Note that things like this can lead to disagreement especially when neither party is ready or willing to surrender their powers or accept the other party’s decision. While this cannot be entirely avoided in a joint venture, you should establish a mechanism that will help the parties to come to a common agreement or to resolve the deadlock.

All parties in the joint venture must collaborate on maintaining their financial records. They also need to decide the process of administrative record keeping. While this may not be necessary, it is good practice for joint ventures to work with one accounting firm that is agreed upon by all members. This will help to limit the risk of any conflict of interest or complications in the future.

For joint ventures that will produce intellectual property that is of potential value to each of the parties, this clause is very necessary to avoid the risk of one party attempting to take advantage of the other’s intellectual property. This clause in the joint venture business plan should note who will own any new intellectual property created by the venture, and the extent to which the parties are permitted to use that property outside the venture.

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Updated on 06 Feb, 2023

What is JBP?

Benefits of jbp, jbp objectives, levels of jbp.

JBP helps customers goods suppliers and eCommerce store owners to build good relationships that benefit both and improve the eCommerce experience.

JBP stands for Joint Business Planning. It's like share business planning, JBP is building winning relationships that benefit both suppliers as well as sellers and improve the good experience for consumers through clear insights.

Basically, JBP is an alignment process between the goods suppliers and sellers that produce breakthrough business plans. The main objective of JBP is to set the alignment of goals and some action plans between the two collaborative parties.

For sellers and suppliers, having a JBP can produce a win-win strategy in growing sales. An effective joint business plan allows suppliers to build stronger relationships with their sellar so both partners can mutually support and take benefit from each other.

When a seller and supplier understand each other's needs and agree on common objectives, they can share insights to support each other and that helps to improve sales, product growth, and processes.

Some benefits that actually helpful while using the JBP model can be not only financial but educational as well.

Alignment: JBP being aligned on objectives creates clarity on all other areas of the business for both partners. Agreeing on the same goals, no matter how and when they are calculated, keeps both seller and supplier accountable and benefits both to meet expectations.

Exposure: Partnering with another business can bring new consumers and a new platform. In a simple seller/supplier JBP, the seller can sell the supplier’s product to its potential shoppers. At the same time, shoppers loyal to the supplier’s product can be visited the seller's eCommerce store for the first time.

ROI: By partnering with another business with a common goal, the benefits above will provide a better return on investments for both parties when the plan is executed correctly.

JBP is designed to deliver shared benefits or objectives, mutual accountability, and a perfect work strategy.

  • Shoppers profile creation
  • Time to time opportunity identification
  • The alignment process focused on the same goal
  • JBP including Scorecards and Strategies for both
  • Mutually understanding joining plan development
  • Understanding the seller Economics
  • Differentiate JBP and Align It
  • Maintain good contact with customers

There are mainly three levels of JBP present.

1. Foundational Level: In this aligns with basic metrics of sales, expenses, profit,

etc. Plan for upcoming new product introductions and necessary adjustments, etc.

2. Advanced Level: Deeper planning. Foundation Level + more complex analysis such as supply chain/logistics efficiencies, and shopper marketing process.

3. Leadership Level: This is the highest level of commitment. Advanced Level + significant investment

in high-return elements of joint value generation such as new product innovation, equity building, and joint

Related terms

Joint Business Plan: what's the point? .

It’s around this time that manufacturers and retailers agree joint business plans, or JBPs, for the coming year. But JBPs can be a very mixed bag, so if you’re going to do one, it’s essential you do it in the right way and for the right reasons. JBPs come in just three flavours, so which one is right for each of your major relationships?

The Sales Plan:

It’s the most common form of JBP but, in reality, it’s nothing more than a 12-month promotion calendar. Periods of trading, interspersed with launches and deals. It’s a low-value exercise. At best it helps you coordinate activity, stock, and investment across the year, but it’s never going to transform your businesses, so don’t waste much time on it.

The Battle Plan:

This flavour of JBP is really a competitive negotiating tool, to be used to gain specific commitments and concessions. A retailer may be offered extra promotions for a cost price increase. A manufacturer might be promised volume growth in return for more investment. The numbers in the plan are only there to support the negotiation, and to be used as a beating stick, for one side or the other, during the year. It’s a hard-nosed deal for a 12-month period, so it needs time, focus and planning.

The Strategic Plan:

The “strategic” JBP is very different. It requires an open, collaborative relationship. It starts with an ambitious vision of where the relationship could be in the future, where it could add genuine value for customers, and where it could create something new, different and worthwhile. The strategy is as much about joint initiatives as it is about buying and selling, and it may outline a plan that will run for the next several years.

BOTTOM LINE:  you can’t collaborate with someone intent on competing with you. But for those relationships where you can collaborate, the rewards from a strategic JBP can be huge. Choose the right approach, set appropriate objectives, and adopt a style to maximise the opportunity. Don’t waste your time going through the motions – there’s really no point.

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Course Description

This approach to Joint Business Planning (JBP) is rooted in an alignment process between the customer and seller (Manufacturer, Broker, Suppler, etc) that produces breakthrough business plans. The objective of JBP is to drive alignment of goals, strategies and action plans between the two collaborative partners.

Learning Objectives

  • Customer Profile Development
  • Situation Assessment & Opportunity Identification
  • Alignment Process focused on Priorities
  • Joint Business Plan Session including Scorecards and Strategies
  • Joint Action Plan Development and Work Teams
  • Instructor led
  • Experiential

Target Audience

Any person from a Manufacturer, Retailer, Distributor or Agency, within the Consumer Product Goods industry, who seeks a more advanced understanding of Joint Business Planning. Typical participants include roles such as Category Managers, Buyers, Merchandisers, Customer Team leaders, Account Executives, Marketing Managers, Pricing & Promotion Managers, Finance Managers, Business Managers, Operations Managers, Retail or Sales Strategy Managers, Trade Marketers, Supply Chain Managers, Category Analysts, etc.

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Strategic Business Planning Analysis & Insights Trading Partner Development

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Facebook Marketing: A Small Business Guide

facebook joint business plan

When I first started using Facebook in 2009, I would never have predicted just how influential the platform would grow to become for businesses.

Gone are the days where Facebook existed solely as a place for your friends’ (slightly banal) updates on how their days are going. When used correctly, Facebook has the potential to be a huge marketing asset for small businesses.

However, the process of actually setting up a Facebook marketing campaign can be confusing, as there really is almost too much information out there. How do you know what to post? How often should you post? Where do you even start?

This guide exists as an attempt to simplify that process. Here you’ll learn:

  • What research you should do before you get started
  • How to create a Facebook Page for your business
  • How to grow your audience
  • What and when to post
  • How to track whether or not your marketing campaign is successful

It can feel overwhelming, but after reading you should have a clear sense of the steps you need to take to create a Facebook marketing campaign for your small business. So, let’s get started.

1. Paint a clear picture of your existing customer base and target audience

Before you dive into Facebook marketing, spend some time getting a clear picture of your existing customer base, and establishing an idea of the ideal customer you’d like to target. Having a sense of who your customer is will help you tailor content to suit them specifically.

Getting to know who your customers are

To get to know your customers, you’ll want to do a little market research. Who are your customers? What is their average age range, gender, location? What do they like, what do they hate, what are their interests?

You’ve probably done a lot of this legwork already during the startup process, but make sure to revisit it before you continue. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your social media marketing is failing to take the time to get to know your audience. The clearer sense you get of who they are and what they are like, the easier it will be to create content that resonates with them.

Creating an ideal customer

In addition, you’ll want to spend some time coming up with a user persona, if you haven’t done this already during the process of getting your business up and running.

Ideally, the new Facebook marketing campaign you’re initiating will bring in new customers and fans. Just as knowing your existing customers helps you tailor your content to suit their tastes, creating a persona based on your ideal customer will help you create focused, targeted content that feels cohesive and unified.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the topic of marketing personas, Buffer has a great guide on how to create them.

2. Create your business Facebook Page

To start, you’ll need to get your Page ready to go. Here are the steps you’ll need to go through before we move into the finer details of your Facebook marketing strategy.

Setting up your Page

First of all, you’ll need to actually set up your Facebook Page, if you haven’t done so already.

For this, it’s best to go directly to the source: Facebook itself has information on how to set up your business’s Facebook Page, including a video tutorial. This step is very easy and should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Add basic information

Don’t even think about setting up your Page and leaving key areas blank! The first step to a solid Facebook marketing strategy for your small business is to make sure your Facebook Page itself is detailed and complete.

You’ll want to do the following:

  • Complete your “about” section
  • During this step, you’ll also select your unique domain (note that this can only be changed once!)
  • Upload a profile picture (of your storefront, product, staff, logo, or similar)
  • Add relevant information about your business such as hours, location, and so on
  • Create a cover photo (I’d recommend using Canva for this, if you’re not working with a graphic designer)
  • Optimize your cover photo with a call-to-action

At this point, your Facebook Page is functional and ready to go, although still pretty bare-bones. From here, you’ll move on to actually creating unique posts for your Page, and onto creating a strategy to gain followers.

facebook joint business plan

Dog boutique LexiDog has a clear, informative “about” page on their Facebook.

3. Help your Facebook Page find an audience

So, your Facebook Page is all set up. Should you create content first, or try to find an audience?

Ideally, you’ll be working on this step and the next step simultaneously—it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

However, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on finding your audience first.

Tell your existing customers about your Facebook Page

This tactic is fairly intuitive, but it’s an important one. Here’s how to make sure your existing customers interact with your new Facebook Page.

Add “like” buttons to your website

You’ll want to add these buttons to your existing business website so that customers can “like” you on Facebook. Wired has a guide on how to do this, and here is another one.  You may also want to look into adding social media buttons to your website.

Broadcast your new Facebook Page across your other social channels, and add it to your email signature

Have a Twitter or Instagram account already? Tell your followers that you just started a Facebook Page, and include the link to your Page.

If you’re sending out an email newsletter, add a mention of your new Facebook Page to your next one (with a link), or create a newsletter specifically letting your customers know you’ve started a Facebook Page.

Put up signs or small flyers in your business if you run a brick-and-mortar store

If you have a physical location, create a display, flyer, or card that invites customers to find and “like” your Page on Facebook. My article on where to find the best offline marketing materials will be a good resource here.

Make sure to place these items prominently, and bring them to your customers’ attention. If you run a hair salon, for example, you could place a small stack of cards at the reception desk where clients can grab one as they pay, and you could ask your receptionist to hand them out as well.

Grow your audience base

Now that your existing customers have found you on Facebook, it’s time to expand your reach.

To grow your Facebook audience, you will need to develop a strong content strategy. Posting high-quality content that your customers want to see will be key to building a following.

We’ll get to what to post on your Facebook Page in the next step, but here are some strategies that will help you grow your audience beyond your existing customers.

Cross promote with other brands

Building relationships with other local small businesses can be a great way to get your Page in front of new customers. By establishing a reciprocal relationship with another local business, you both gain new exposure.

Once you’ve found a business to partner with, you can develop a cross promotion strategy. Share each other’s posts, mention each other, or consider collaborating on a project (a video series, an in-store event, or similar). To continue our hair salon example from earlier, perhaps the salon might reach out to a boutique down the block with a similar clientele base.

Encourage your employees to post about your Facebook Page

Make sure that everyone’s personal account is linked to your business’s Facebook Page. Ask your employees to add their place of work, and perhaps occasionally share content from your business’s Facebook Page on their own timeline as well.

Add your Facebook Page to your email signature

You probably send countless work-related emails every day—and your email signature offers valuable marketing real estate. You can take advantage of this by adding a “like” button to your signature, or a link that takes readers directly to your Facebook Page.

Here’s a guide from Outlook on how to add a Facebook button to your email signature, and here’s one for Gmail.

Use Facebook ads to promote your Page

If you are interested in paid marketing, Facebook will put your Page front and center for a potential audience by use of paid promotion. You can visit Facebook’s guide to promoting your Page for more info on how to set this up.

However, you may want to hold off on paid promotion until you’ve built up the content on your Facebook Page a bit more. We’ll come back to paid advertising later on in this guide as well.

4. Develop a content strategy

This is the important part: creating content that will resonate with your audience, help you gain new followers, and make them want to follow your Facebook Page and share what you post.

This section will be broken down into a few different subsections, as there is a lot to cover here.

Create a mix of different types of content

To an extent, what content you post will depend on what kind of business you’re running. However, for the purposes of illustrating some of the things you could create, we’ll stick with the hair salon example.

Image-based content

Images reign supreme, and there is really no question about it. In a study done in 2014, posts with images had an 87 percent interaction rate, with all other types of content achieving four percent or less.

So, plain and simple: You need to post images. But, what kind of images should you post?

Let’s use our hair salon as an example. They could post:

  • Before and after images of great cuts and colors
  • Photos of new products in stock
  • Shared images where customers have tagged the business (maybe encourage customers to upload a photo and tag you after using your product or service?)
  • Images of staff members at work, or fun photos of staff accompanied by a short bio
  • Photos of events held at the salon

facebook joint business plan

Bouffant Salon’s Facebook Page showcases a variety of photos, including examples of great cuts and colors created by their stylists.

Video content

Video content can go one of two ways—either you share outside content on your Facebook Page, or you create your own.

We’ll get to creating your own videos in a later post (stay tuned for my upcoming article on using YouTube to market your small business), but here is a brief look at a few types of video content you could share.

Our hair salon could share:

  • Tutorials from their favorite YouTube beauty gurus on how to create braids, updos, and more
  • Small video clips showing a finished color or hairstyle, as a video version of the before and after
  • Viral videos that resonate with their particular audience, and fit their brand image

Short clips of text, store updates, or other “snackable” content

Posting updates on Facebook is a little different when it’s for your business as opposed to your personal account. While you won’t be posting personal updates, having some short, text-driven content is still a smart part of your posting strategy.

Here are some suggestions for short text updates from our hair salon example:

  • Posts that let customers know about a special promotion or sale
  • Posts welcoming new staff members (which, if the staff member allows it, will show up on their timeline as well!)
  • Fun posts for customers to answer (true or false, fill-in-the-blank, and so on)
  • Posts detailing any change in operating hours or need-to-know information (it’s not all fun and games when it comes to Facebook content—don’t forget this info!)

Links to long-form blog content

If you have a blog, you’ll also want to share content from your blog on Facebook. It will encourage customers to engage with you in a variety of spaces, and drive traffic back to your blog.

It goes without saying that I couldn’t possibly list all the strategies for Facebook content creation in this article; Facebook is a social media behemoth, and more than any other platform lends itself to varied types of content.

The biggest piece of advice? Keep your content offerings varied, and make sure your choice of content and tone of voice is in keeping with your audience (more on tone of voice in a minute).

Here are some additional resources that will help you create great content for Facebook:

  • 6 Small Business Facebook Posts: Critiqued With Tips for You
  • 22 Facebook Post Ideas for Businesses that Practically Guarantee Engagement
  • 10 Successful Facebook Marketing Examples

Cultivate a tone of voice to suit your audience

If you’ve read any of our resources on branding, you’ll know that creating a brand tone of voice is essential.

However, if you’re thinking the impact of brand tone ends with your website, employees, or the product itself, think again. Your brand’s tone of voice is equally important—if not more so—when it comes to your social media presence.

Think about your favorite brands. How do they sound? Now, think about how jarring it would be if they suddenly did a complete 180. For instance, take social media and viral marketing darling Old Spice :

facebook joint business plan

In recent years, Old Spice has become known for their humorous images, videos, and overall tone. Now, what if Old Spice suddenly changed their tune, and started posting humorless updates on their product ingredients, or the history of deodorant? Fans would be understandably thrown off. It’s a silly example, but illustrative of the importance of tone of voice.

The tone of voice you choose to use should be a reflection of your products and services, your employees and company culture, and your client base. Cultivating a consistent brand tone may take some time, so make sure you keep it in mind while you develop your content strategy.

Here are some more resources that will help you cultivate your brand’s tone of voice:

  • Your Brand’s Tone of Voice: Why It Matters and How to Craft It
  • How to Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice: The Best Examples, Questions, and Guides
  • 20 Great Social Media Voices (and How to Develop Your Own)

5. Time your Facebook posts strategically

Now that you have an idea of where to take your content strategy, we’ll get into the finer details of posting content to Facebook.

You don’t want to post at random, especially when you have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal on how to get your Facebook posts seen by as many of your followers as possible.

How often to post on Facebook

By looking at the posting strategies of top brands, it has been found that the average is one post per day, with the sweet spot between “enough to engage” and “annoying” falling somewhere in the range of five to 10 posts per week.

In terms of posting multiple times per day, there is a noted drop-off in engagement  after the first post, but not enough so as to suggest that posting, say, two posts in a day is necessarily a bad idea. However, it isn’t necessary.

Ultimately, your strategy for how often you post will depend not just on industry data, but also on your audience. Depending on your business, you may have more success posting multiple times a day—but you’ll never know unless you plan strategically and track your results. We’ll go over how to track what’s working and what isn’t in step eight of this article.

What times to post on Facebook

As with how often to post on Facebook, when to post on Facebook will, to an extent, vary based on your audience. Ultimately, this may mean posting at a variety of times to start, and tracking which posts receive the most engagement (in the form of likes, comments, and shares).

It’s important to keep this in mind as your audience will vary a bit from the overall average. So, pinning down exactly when your audience is most active on Facebook may serve you better than simply relying on current best practices.

However, there are some findings that may be a good starting place for your business; for instance, Thursdays and Fridays from 1pm to 3pm have been found to be more active times on Facebook for businesses.

For a more detailed overview of the best time to post on Facebook, check out the article linked above, as well as this one by Hubspot, which does a deep dive into posting times by platform.

6. Automate your Facebook posting

You might be sitting there thinking, “There is no way I’ll have time to get on Facebook several times a day to post updates and play around with different posting times!”

If that is the case—or even if you simply want to streamline your social media processes—it’s time to look into automation. Essentially, automating your Facebook posting means that you can create and schedule all your Facebook posts at once, and they will post at selected times throughout the week, without you having to log in each day to do it manually.

When it comes to posting automation, there are several options. Here at Bplans, we like Coschedule and Hubspot. Your needs and budget, however, will largely determine which SaaS automation tool you choose.

You can read more about our favorite marketing tools here. If you’d like to start out free at first and upgrade later, consider this list of free and open source marketing automation software products.

7. Dive into the world of Facebook ads (or don’t)

Facebook ads were, at one time, a great strategy for businesses; whether they are still worthwhile is a point of contention.

Generally speaking, the common consensus seems to be that Facebook ads are a fairly expensive means of advertising and that an effective Facebook marketing strategy is, realistically, fine without them. As there are so many free ways to expand your audience and use Facebook to market your business, paying for advertising on Facebook should be fairly low on your priority list.

However, if you are interested in diving into the world of Facebook ads, it is possible to get something out of it on a fairly limited budget. This article from Buffer details what $5 a day can produce, which serves as a good starting point if you’d like to test out a low-cost Facebook ad campaign.

8. Track engagement metrics and refine your strategy as needed

Throughout the process of establishing your Facebook marketing campaign, be aware that you can’t just set it and forget it. To really get the most out of a marketing campaign, you should be tracking key metrics and getting a clear sense of what works and what doesn’t.

This means getting a sense of what metrics you’d like to track for your Facebook marketing campaign (are you focusing on increasing followers? Do you want your posts to be shared more? Are you trying to get more likes per post? Are you interested in seeing how Facebook actually increases your leads, sales, and so on?) and then tracking how you’re doing. Start by getting a sense of what social metrics matter, determine what you’d like to focus on, and find a tool that will help you track it.

Here at Bplans, we use several different tools to track social metrics, including True Social Metrics, Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, and Sumome. What you use will largely depend on your budget and needs.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that for your Facebook marketing strategy to be as effective as possible, it’s important to keep track of what you are doing, and whether or not it’s working. This way, you can continue to refine and revise your strategy, to make it as effective as possible.

Clearly, the process of creating a Facebook marketing campaign for your small business is fairly involved. However, if you follow these steps, track where you are successful (or not), and adjust your plan accordingly, you’ll have a Facebook marketing strategy that brings in customers and helps establish a strong social media presence for your brand.

AvatarBriana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine


Briana is a content and digital marketing specialist, editor, and writer. She enjoys discussing business, marketing, and social media, and is a big fan of the Oxford comma. Bri is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and she can be found, infrequently, on Twitter.

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The Silicon Valley investors who secretly bought up $800 million in Northern California real estate reveal unexpected plans for 'a city of yesterday'

  • A mysterious company backed by Silicon Valley investors has been purchasing land near San Francisco.
  • Until recently, the development plans behind their $800 million investment have been unknown.
  • They're planning to build a retro city on the 52,000 acres of farmland they bought.

Insider Today

The Silicon Valley investors that got the government's attention by gobbling up $800 million worth of land outside San Francisco say the mystery city they plan on building is, well… kinda retro.

"We think that there's so much wisdom in how we built cities and towns over the last hundreds of thousands of years in some places. And so from the beginning, we've believed that you go back to go forward," Jan Sramek, founder and CEO of California Forever, told KQED on Monday.

The New York Times reported in August that Sramek — a 36-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader — and a group of some of tech's most recognizable names, including Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman together funded a new company called Flannery Associates, which purchased about 52,000 acres of farmland around Travis Air Force Base in rural Solano County, north east of the Bay Area.

"The plans that people put forward will be very inspired by those great old American neighborhoods that someone who was born 100 years ago will recognize," Sramek told KQED. "And so I think we are very different than many of the attempts to build new cities by people who've been wooed by the vision of some star architects to build the city of tomorrow. We want to build a city of yesterday."

Sramek said the "dominant" housing types in the new city should be row houses, which he called one of the "most underappreciated types of types of buildings."

"You can have small construction firms build them. They can be built much more cheaply. They can be single-family row houses where you have a yard," he said.

Critics, including Fairfield mayor Catherine Moy, say developing on some of the limited remaining agricultural land in California is "not a good idea," she told KQED.

"Here's my suggestion: these billionaires take their billions of dollars and go back down to Silicon Valley and build high-rise apartments there that are low income so that their employees can work and live in the same area," Insider previously reported Moy said.

A different style of smart city for Solano

Silicon Valley personalities from Bill Gates to Elon Musk have long held visions of their own "smart cities" meant to serve as tech-forward utopias for their residents.

Earlier this year, Musk purchased 3,500 acres of land outside of Austin, Texas, to build a town he intends to call "Snailbrook" for his company employees to live in.

Those who live near existing Boring Company and SpaceX developments in Bastrop Country, including Chap Ambrose, a computer programmer, have doubts about the sustainability and vision of such ever-expanding projects.

"I just have no faith that the leadership there values the environment and these shared resources," Ambrose told The Washington Post , adding that he wants Musk to "do better here and be a good neighbor."

California Forever did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Insider.

Azmi Haroun contributed to this report.

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Watch: Silicon Valley heavyweights are trying to fix the lack of diversity in tech – here's how

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