A business plan is a document that shows, clearly, what your company’s plans are for the future and how it plans to achieve these objectives. Now, if you are the sole owner of your business (as is common with small companies), you might be tempted to think you already know all these things and not be bothered with creating a business plan. You are wrong, you still need a business plan.
Why do you need a business plan?
If you are starting a business, a business plan is essential to help determine the direction for the venture in the coming years. This document is necessary to show that your brilliant idea is indeed viable and help prospective investors understand your vision.
You can refer to it regularly to ensure the business is on course with the goals you set.
What must be in your business plan
Your executive summary gives a general overview of your company. In this section, you should explain what your company is, your address, what you offer and who your target market is. ( Quick tip: Unless you are selling air, the entire country isn’t your target market)
Also, show your ownership structure, who owns it and include a resume to show prior experience. This section should also explain how you plan to fund the business.
This gives a brief description of the industry your business is in. You should also provide information about all the various markets and subdivisions within the industry, including any new products or developments that will benefit or adversely affect your business.
After giving a description of the industry, your business plan should show how you intend to market your company effectively.
This is where you show the results of the market analysis you have done. Wait, you haven’t done your market analysis yet? Then get to researching the industry, then show that the target market has been defined and the company can make a profit.
This is where you show the results of your all-important SWOT analysis. From the analysis, you can tell what strengths you have over competitors, what your weaknesses are, and what opportunities are there for you to explore.
Operations & Management Plan
Your operations and management plan should show explicitly the logistics of your company and the responsibilities of everyone in your team. The is where you clearly state what tasks are assigned to all individuals and how you plan to carry them out.
After doing this, you could sit back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. But don’t do that just yet, take it a step further and make your business plan stand out from every other one you see. Here’s what you do.
How to make your business plan stand out
Check your grammar and tone: make sure you have the right tone, do not sound too informal. Check your spelling and proofread. An error-strewn business well will reflect badly on your business.
Keep it short and simple: keep it short and straight to the point. Most investors will have to skim through quickly, make sure all the important information is conveyed in as few words as possible.
Show your niche: Your business plan MUST show what makes you special. If you are starting a business that has been in a part of your family for generations, state it in the business plan. Write down what makes you different.
Update often: as you business grows your objectives might change, update your business plan to include these shifts.
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