Writing Business Charters: Points to Consider: Part 1

Writing Business Charters: Points to Consider: Part 1
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When writing business charters, the document should describe the core vision and mission of the company and outlines the strategy to implement the mission and vision. It also should include related information such as organizational structure.

A good business charter not only expresses the company’s vision and details a road map to achieve the vision, but also provides flexibility to reconcile the changes in vision and the approach.

The hallmark of a good business charter includes not just precise information, but also

  • good visualizations such as graphs to simplify figures
  • figures and specific points in bulleted text rather than plain descriptions
  • Simple and easy flowing language with thorough grammar and spell check

Executive Summary

The business charter usually starts with an executive summary that outlines the contents included in the subsequent pages. This entails listing down of the major points included in the business charter without explanations or supporting details.

Must-have details in the executive summary include the name and nature of business, list of products and the expected customers, risk factors, and an overview of project timeline.

Mission Statement

The mission statement articulates the goals and aspirations of the business, or what the company plans to achieve. A clear and achievable mission statement is the foundation for success and the sure way to convince investors and other stakeholders about the viability of the business

A good mission statement clarifies the company’s purpose and is:

  • Concise, not more than few sentences
  • Specific, detailing the purpose of the business or activity
  • Measurable, or easily quantifiable
  • Action Oriented styling
  • Realistic or achievable within a specific period as opposed to idealistic visions

An example of a good mission statement is that of Coca-Cola. In its website, the company lists its mission as:

  • To refresh the world
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness
  • To create value and make a difference

Another example of a good business charter mission statement is that of ACT Planning and Land Authority.

“The ACT Planning and Land Authority is responsible for long term strategic planning, assessing development and lease variation applications, monitoring compliance with approvals and regulating the construction industry. The Authority also provides high quality spatial information, mapping products and data to facilitate decision-making across government and the community.”

Image Credit: geograph.org.uk/Richard Croft

Company Background

The company background or company profile provides basic information regarding the company. This section details the following information

  1. shareholding pattern of the company and legal registration details
  2. physical location of offices and other units
  3. organizational structure
  4. a brief history about the company, or the steps taken to turn the idea into a start up

This section is not central to the business plan and provides only supporting information, and as requires brevity, ideally not extending to more than a page.

Product Description

A key ingredient of the business charter is the product description. The product description includes:

  • the legal grounding for the business decision
  • name and grading of products
  • key ingredients
  • overview of the production process or service description
  • major uses of the product
  • any shortcomings, limitations, or scope for improvement

For service-oriented businesses, the product description can detail the purpose of the proposed service.

One example of purpose from the Charter Statement of the Technical Committee on Computer Communications reads:

“Conduct workshops, conferences, and other meetings to advance both the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice of computing systems integration with current and emerging data communications and computing technologies.”

Market Analysis

The business charter is incomplete without a market analysis. The market analysis covers important commercial information such as

  1. why people require the product
  2. target customer base
  3. estimated sales
  4. survey of competition
  5. key selling points compared to competitors

The market analysis is central to the business charter, and needs listing out in detail with supporting evidences such as references to research reports, graphs and the like. This section is also the most flexible part of the charter. Unlike the objectives, company background and product specifications that remain fixed once approved, the market analysis can change with changes in the external environment.

Project Time Line

Another critical inclusion while writing business charters is the project time line, or the systematic time based implementation schedule once the funding for the project is in place. The basic ingredients in this section includes details on deliverables regarding

  1. compliance with statutory requirements such as licensing
  2. setting up of physical infrastructure
  3. establishing marketing infrastructure
  4. Internet presence
  5. actual production timeline

Staff Profile

Business Charter

Human resources play a critical role in the success of any business, and the availability of talent is a good selling point to woo investors.

A good business charter includes:

  1. profile of team members with key responsibilities of each team member. This serves the dual purpose of impressing investors and providing broad guidelines on the roles of each team member.
  2. background of promoters
  3. expected staffing in case of start-ups without a team

Like the market analysis, the staff profile also remains a flexible component of the business charter, usually subject to frequent changes with the recruitment and resignations of key staff.

Image Credit: flickr.com/Special K Files