A business plan is the skeletal bone of any business venture. It is a strategic roadmap that will help your business attain the set goals. The plan helps you look at the industry, customers, competitors, opportunities and threats. You are able to view your company objectively and recognize your capabilities, resources, advantages, strengths and weaknesses.
Planning for an uncertain future so that you start with plans and strategies for a successful future is made possible by your business plan.
Before you write a business plan, you must have parts of the business in place.
• Company – Include organization name, vision, objectives, members and contact information.
• Problem – Describe the problem that is present and why your company wants to target it.
• Solution – Explain what solutions your company offers to alleviate the problem. Describe the products or services offered.
• Business Model – Here explain how the company makes money, who pays you, channels of distribution and gross margins.
• Technology – Mention the technology being used. Also, include what makes your products and services unique and appealing.
• Marketing and Sales – Explain the process of how you are going to reach your customers and your key marketing and advertising points.
• Competition – Have a complete view of the competitive landscape. Compare your strong and weak points to that of your competitors.
• Management team – List who are the key players of your business including advisors, directors, investors, and other stakeholders.
• Financial projections – Graphically project a five year forecast containing key metrics like customer numbers, earnings, and other essential data.
• Current status and achievements – Clarify the status of your business in terms of products or services and what you aim to achieve.
You basically need to prepare a presentation based on your company’s objectives to scrutinize it effectively.
While writing the business plan, try not to exceed 20 pages in length. Keep it short and simple. After all a lengthy and wordy document is not very exciting to read! A good start to a business plan is a well articulated Executive Summary including the company’s technology and products, the market opportunity, competition, funds requested to sustain and grow the company.
Limit your financial projections to a couple of pages. This is very important because no one knows the future of economy and how your business will do in the far future. Set realistic and short-term goals. Include numbers with respect to customers, locations, profit estimates etc. These metrics provide a better understanding of the company’s goals.
There are many tools and resources available online and “offline” to help you design your business plan. Hit the library, bookstore and best of all – the internet to get started.
The ultimate strength of a business relies on the following:
Plans: Company objective, visions, goals, mission
Organization: A good and strong structure
Procedure: Effective and efficient business procedures
Leadership: Ability to influence and encourage team members
Skills: Collective talents and expertise of members
Culture: Positive attitude and belief
Writing a business plan is a crucial stepping stone to a successful venture. There are many key factors to be addressed such as the mission, goals, finance, forecast, and marketing & sales. Having a strong plan in hand will help your business survive in any economy. Use the tips listed here to write an effective plan for your company.