As a starting entrepreneur, laying out a well-detailed plan for your business is essential if you want to achieve success. This plan provides you with direction and keeps your business in check at all times. If you find yourself seeking finance, then it’s also necessary that you have a business plan. A business plan is a written description of your business’s future showing what you have to do and how you plan to do it. You start at this point “A” today with certain abilities and resources. You want to get to a point “B” in the future; a point at which your business will have a different set of resources, abilities, greater profitability, and increased assets. A business plan shows how you plan to get from A to B.
So, now that you understand what a business plan is, what you need to do next is spend some time doing your homework gathering the information you’ll need to create one. This article will show you in details some of the essential sections of a business plan. What you should include. What you shouldn’t include. How to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. Before getting started, I’ve got these early 7 (seven) tips I think you should put into consideration.
- Do your homework. This is important. You will need to make a few decisions about your business. This includes business structure, marketing strategies, and finances before you can complete writing your plan. By having the right information, you’ll be more accurate in your forecasts and analysis.
- Know who you’re making plans for. Will it have more than a single purpose or be used by third parties? Knowing the purpose of the plan can help you reach an answer. If third parties will be involved, what are they interested in? Are they just interested in financing your business or they’re looking for a whole different package?
- Don’t try to complete your business plan from start to finish. Focus on the sections that are relevant to your business and set aside the sections that don’t apply. The other sections will be handled later.
- You can’t do it alone, get help. To make the plan more accurate, I suggest that you seek the help of a professional, that is, a business adviser, or an accountant to look through your plan and provide you with advice.
- Handle actual figures vs. expected figures carefully. If your business has been around for a while, then it’s okay to include actual figures in the plan, but if your business is just starting out and you are using expected figures for turnover and finances, you will need to clearly show that these are expected figures or estimates in the plan.
- Your summary is the last thing you should write. When doing this, don’t use too many words. Get straight to the point stating only the important facts. This is your chance to sell yourself. You definitely want every potential investor, and partners to find your plan realistic enough and be interested in supporting your business whichever way they can.
- Reviewing your plan is very important. Ask those that are close to you to proofread your plan for possible errors. These errors will only put a dent on your professional image if not checked and removed.
Now to the main business of the day, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a business plan.
A.) What should you include in a business plan?
Like I said earlier, a business plan provides you with directions, and help to keep you on track. It is usually a requirement when you seek finance. Depending on your business type, your plan could include the following sections.
- A title page that describes what the plan is for. It could include general information on your business.
- An executive summary is needed within the overall outline of the business plan. Right after the title page, this will come in. It will tell the reader what your desires for the business are.
- Write a business description that shows the present outlook as well as the future possibility of the business. Be sure to include adequate information on all the markets in the industry putting into account every new product that would affect your business positively or negatively.
- Write a competitive business analysis. The purpose of this is to determine the strong point and softness of the players in your market, tactics that will provide you with a unique advantage, the blockades that can be created so as to avoid competition in your market, and any softness that can be taken advantage of within the product development cycle.
- Write a design and development plan. These would help provide investors with a description of the product’s design, chart its development within the context of manufacturing, advertising and the business itself, and form a growth budget that will enable the business to achieve her goals.
- An operations and management plan showing how the business is operated on a daily basis. It will also show the individual responsibilities of every member of the management team, and the tasks assigned to every unit within the company. Also, the capital and expense requirements related to the operations of the business must be included.
- A business summary page kind of like a one-page overview written after your business plan is finalized.
- A well-detailed description that reveals your business including structure, registrations, location and premises, staff, and products/services.
- A page about the future of your business showing the plans you have. It can also include a vision statement, business goals, and key business milestones.
- A page about finance showing how you intend to source for funds for your business. It should include costing and financial projections.
- A page showing a list of all your attachments, for example, copies of emergency procedures, maps, resumes, or financial tables.
B.) What should you do when you finish your business plan?
- Make sure you review it regularly. The process of writing a business plan is an ongoing business activity. Your business will change regularly, so also will many of the strategies in your plan. They’ll need to evolve to ensure your business is still heading in the right direction. Regularly having your plan up to date can keep you focused on where you are heading to and ensure you are ready when you need to be.
- Distribute your plan. This is the blueprint for how your business will run. It reveals what future direction your business will take. You should be careful who you show your plan to so that your idea won’t be stolen and avoid your competitors seeing it.
- Be sure to protect your plan. You can be protected in some cases when you and the third parties you show your plans to have a mutual understanding, however, it’s safer to ask any interested person or company to sign a confidentiality agreement so that your innovations can be protected. Asking your readers not to disclose the details of your plan is also a good idea. You can put that in writing in your plan.
Don’t just stop here. Do more research. Study more. Get professional help if you can. Reach out to me. Might be difficult at first but with time, you’ll sort it out. Was this article helpful enough? Let me know in the comments below