Business Plan For Good: 1. Assesment Phase

The Business Plan for Good is aimed for medium, small and micro enterprises who are looking at how to reinvent themselves.

The Business Plan for Good is aimed for medium, small and micro enterprises who are looking at how to reinvent themselves by scaling circularity combining both their strengths and weaknesses.

The Business Plan for Good is aimed for medium, small and micro enterprises who are looking at how to reinvent themselves by scaling circularity combining both their strengths and weaknesses.

The plan is a tool you can use to re-strategise your activities and thrive as part of the circular economy through the creation of new products, services and the adaptation of your current business model.

In the first phase of the plan, the 'Assessment Phase', you undertake an internal assessment of your business with the lenses of the circular economy, starting by identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to develop circularity in your business.

This phase will also help you develop a clear focus for your business, understanding in which areas lies more potential and which direction you should take. Once you have found your new focus, you can start to define specific goals you want to reach to implement circularity.

1.1 Understanding your business' circularity

In general, and from a businesses point of view, circularity means to create and deliver value to your stakeholders while minimising environmental and social impacts. This happens through the redesign of the core activities involved in the creation and delivery of value, with the ultimate goal to develop a viable and sustainable business model.

  • With this definition clear in mind, start by asking yourself what circularity means for your business by conducting a SWOT analysis (A): what are your current strengths and weaknesses? Where opportunities lie and what are the threats that can undermine them?
  • Then, identify the promising areas within your business where you can see potential for the implementation of circularity (B). Think about from where your resources come from, where is the value being created or destroyed across your value chain and where you see opportunities to improve.
  • List out then who are the key individuals both within your business and among your stakeholders that can play a key role in implementing circularity (C). Think about employees, suppliers and partners and how they can help you support your strategy.  
  • Move the next quadrant and express the value you wish to create for your stakeholders and for yourself (D). Consider the value and return you can create for yourself, your employees, partners, clients and all the involved stakeholders.
  • Finally, develop a first list of actions and envisage their implementation across a time frame of five years (E). What concrete actions towards circularity can you start to implement and when do you see them happening?

1.2 Find your focus

With a first understanding of your business' circularity in mind, move to the next section and try to find the focal point of your challenge: implementing circularity within your business. In this section, you will find a more clear focus for your business and the direction you would like to take.

  • Start by thinking where you would like to go: How will you feel when you get there? What are your hopes? What potential is there to unlock?
  • Consider then what do you currently have. What are your unique resources? What do you know? What do you appreciate?
  • Move to the third quadrant and think what is holding you back at the moment. What do you fear? What do you not have? What are your biggest challenges?
  • Lastly, identify the people that can support you and from whom you can take inspiration from. Who inspires you?  Who is supporting you? Who is getting in your way? Who has been successful before?

Add as many sticky notes as you want in each quadrant. Discuss with your team and identify then the top two for each quadrant and add them in the circle in the middle: they will help you find your focus.

1.3 Define your goals

With your new focus clearly in mind, you will try to define new ambitious goals for your business through the lenses of circularity. This will help you to have an overview of your goals in one place. Goals can be general (e.g. "becoming carbon-neutral") or more specific (e.g. "create a restaurant menu made with local ingredients"), but should always reflect the direction your business is pursuing.

For every goal, start by defining its main proposition, the 'What' (e.g. "creating a new restaurant menu"), then explain 'How' you would do it (e.g. made with local ingredients') and 'Why' you would do it (e.g. "supporting local producers").

Use sticky notes of different colours for every goal you define to avoid confusion.

The Assessment Phase represents a fundamental first step towards the development of a circular business model. By undertaking an internal assessment of your processes through the lenses of the circular economy you will be able to identify opportunities to develop circularity in your business. At the end of this phase first phase, you will have developed a clear focus for your business, together with a list of specific goals to reach circularity.


Download the full template below.

The Business Plan for Good is aimed for medium, small and micro enterprises who are looking at how to reinvent themselves by scaling circularity combining both their strengths and weaknesses.