Every business regardless of its type needs a business plan. Not only will your business plan provide you with direction, it’s an important document required for when you need to seek finance from a bank or an investor.
In short, a business plan is a description of where you want your business to be in the future. It outlines what you’re going to do to grow your business and reach success. From company descriptions and product/service offerings to financial projections and marketing strategies, your business plan should become a valuable ownership manual.
Sounds straightforward? Actually, getting started on writing a business plan can be challenging. That’s why many people skip the entire process altogether. It’s also why so many entrepreneurs lose their way and their businesses ultimately fails.
Whether you’re looking at established businesses for sale or starting up your own from scratch, getting your business plan right from the beginning will pay off in the end. To help you nail your business plan, we want to share the following advice:
Once you’ve determined that your business idea is viable, it’s important to do some thorough research. You need research and analyse your business structure, marketing strategies and your competition. Get to know everything about your business, the industry and your targeted consumer before you write your business plan.
- Determine the plan’s purpose
Determine why you’re writing the plan in the first place. Is it to use internally as a road map for your business? Will you be using it to secure a loan from the bank? Or do you have a third-party investor involved? Understanding the purpose of your business plan will help you target your answers to your audience.
If you find writing a business plan overwhelming, seek some help. A business advisor or accountant can be helpful when analysing or forecasting your figures. A business coach may be able to help you refine your product or service offering.
- Include actual or expected figures
If you’re writing your business plan for an existing business, you can include actual figures. New businesses will require you to forecast expected figures. This needs to include your turnover and expenses. Work out how many products you expect to sell in the first financial year. If you’re looking at a shop, an office or factories for lease, understand the rent and overheads. Do you need to hire staff? What are your marketing costs?
- Establish a marketing plan
Constructing a marketing plan with objectives will strengthen your business plan. Set goals for each objective and strategies of how you’re going to achieve these goals. Set a timeframe and identify the budgets for each marketing objective.
- Write your business plan summary last
Every business plan includes a summary that provides you with the opportunity to sell yourself and your business idea. It’s a good idea to write this last when you’ve got a clear understanding of every aspect of your company. Keep it short, factual and motivate your reader.
Throughout the business plan, highlight your passion and dedication to the business. Explain why you want to build this business, identify the mistakes you’ve learnt and the areas you want to solve. Reiterate what makes you and your business stand out from the competition.
Your business plan is a reflection of you and your company. You want to create a document that makes a good impression. Errors will detract from the professional image you’ve created, so make sure you proofread and edit before you press print. It’s also worth asking an impartial person to run their eye over it too.