A concrete idea is the first and most important
step in regards to any new venture, but there are definitely
other distinct components necessary for propelling a
business to success. The first is coming up with a good business plan. Although there are many uses for a business plan, the most obvious reason is for the purpose of attracting the attention of investors, financiers or loan companies.
Where Should You Start?
Getting started on a business plan may at first seem like an overwhelmingly difficult challenge but with the proper preparation you can have a great plan together without too much difficulty. One of the best ways to start is by keeping copious notes that refer to every aspect of your new venture. Even if the thoughts that occur to you seem insignificant,
keep your ideas in a simple notebook so that when you're
ready to put your plan together, all your ideas are in one place.
Description Of Your Business
A description of your business will come under the overview or summary section. Included in this section you will define what your company is about, what it does and what it hopes to achieve. Offer data that explains why you believe you will reach your goals, why you believe you are a sound investment, and why your company has what it takes to make a dent in the marketplace.
This section should also include where you're now at your business, your goals and your future intentions as well as your growth potential. As you move forward with your plan be prepared to make revisions.
A Product / Service section should include all the details relating to your particular product or service. These can include everything from the benefits of your product to the uniqueness of the product to how this product will make a difference in someone's life. This section is very important since a wise investor will quickly see whether there is an inherent return on the money he or she intends.
An extremely important part of a business plan is your
marketing strategy. In this section you will explain how you
intend to reach your target audience. Keep in mind that it
is precisely what it claims, a marketing strategy.
Therefore you will be presenting ways in which you plan to
promote your business. Whether it's through a web site, press release, advertisements, sales letters, television, radio, direct
mail, newspaper or magazines, give precise examples.
The marketing strategy section gives you the opportunity to
show how you intend to get the word out. It is the perfect tool you'll need for convincing someone of your ability to reach your target audience.
You do not have to be afraid of sharing who and what you may be competitive against since your business will have a specialty all its own. So be sure to research your competitors. Give examples as to whether your competitors business is growing or diminishing and why.
Perhaps your business is so unique you have no competition,
which of course makes you an even more attractive
possibility for a loan. In that case you must define why you
think this new service or product will be a success.
If you have a team of people involved in your organization, they are the most important resource of your company before you should include their strengths and experience in addition to what role they're play in your company. Include bios of all the key decision-makers as bios show an investor how you and your team's experience will help grow your new venture.
If you're targeting a specific market here is the place to
illustrate who and what that specific market will be.
Spell it out in detail. Will it be to the private sector or government contracts? Are you seeking retailers or wholesalers?
Are you searching for distributors? If the target market is unlimited, meaning you have no limitations regarding age, profession, income levels or gender, make sure to explain that as well.
The Financial Section
The financial section of your plan is the one that will receive the most detailed scrutiny and investigation. As a beginning place you should ask yourself the following questions:
How much money will I need for my start-up venture and how much money will I need to stay in business? Be sure to include complete financial assumptions, statements and projections. A Banker, Investor or Loan Company will carefully review your future forecasts and perception potential so do not skimp on the financials. These calculations will either invite investors
or turn them away. It is highly recommended that you utilize the services of an accountant to make sure your financials are done correctly.
A well put together plan will ensure that you'll be taken seriously, so before you submit your plan to venture capitalists or investors, be sure you convey yourself as dynamic, professional and enthusiastic. Highlight your key points and be prepared to answer any and all questions a potential investor might ask.
Obviously, this is only a brief summary of what a business
plan requires. You can include other sections as you progress, but start with these and add as you move forward. Remember, your presentation is of the utmost importance and can mean the difference between attracting the right investor or failing to be heard.