There are a couple of ways you can approach How To Write A Business Plan. Here I have tried to provide the most important 8 Key Steps To A Successful Business Plan elements you will require.
So before we begin let me explain why a business plan is a must for every successful business; it entails all that is expected of a business and the ways and means of getting there. The planning aspect of a business determines how far the venture will go, it’s good to know all finer details of a business you want to start or expand. The plan is actually regarded as a road map to where you want to go with your business in real time, this means its something that wilt evolve and change as your business grows over time.
Therefore, its very important to know exactly what the business will need and how to achieve the goals. Starting a business is a journey, and like any journey takes planning and preparation.
The following guideline will help to give you an overview of what should be included in your business plan. You will know which factors to consider when writing the business plan by following the steps below, the plan is all about how far you expect the business to be in certain period of time. This can be projected after say two years, three years, and five years and so on.
This is a section which summarizes all the basic details about the business, readers of the document should be able to understand what the business entails and what are its objectives. This also includes exactly what the business owner will do or operate it. The summary should also provide an overview that includes the products or services that the business will create, provide, sell or execute. It should also detail the key points of the document in a summarized form. It should show well the unique strategies which you have in the business to make it succeed, the competitive aspects of the business should also be outlined here very well, and described in a convincing way. So as you can see the summary is very important as it builds a picture of what the business actually is and where the business is at.
Description of the business
This part of you business plan contains the facts about the business, the things you intend to do or already doing, it covers in detail the industry that you are operating in. The products you are selling or services you are offering are covered in this context, it also depicts an industry overview and the market trends. Any recent changes within the industry should also be pointed out and to show how you can succeed in this space, any USP (unique selling point) that provides a key advantage for your business or is a new development for you in your industry is very important here. Any new developments which can either affect your business positively or otherwise should be included.
This should clearly talk about how you are going to market your products and services, it should clearly show and describe your marketing process and an analysis of the market and how you will penetrate it. The business owners or founder should describe how he or she is going to capture the market segment, time line and expectations for this process, including the strategies for marketing in a given market situation. You need to be familiar with the trends and facts about your market and how you will achieve your marketing goals. This should be backed up and layered over your research which you should have done prior to writing. A clear outline and description should be listed, include clear facts and figures. In short it should talk about the marketing plan and strategies the owner will exploit in the given scenario.
Your competitive analysis will shed some light on your strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis (alternatively SWOT matrix) is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in your business venture. It will also cover those of your competitors in the market or within your business niche, it explores all available means and ways of how you can take advantage of your competitor’s weaknesses to enter and capture the market. It’s about formulated strategies and methods of how you can utilize the opportunities to maximize your sales or services. How every loop hole can be pegged to prevent your competitor’s entrance to your market or customers. Other areas which can be listed here can contain information about your product development to tap further into the market or new sectors.
Development plan and design
This section is important since it gives any potential investors a clear view about your product, design and development, it should cover your development planning that is going to be conducted or currently executed by the company. You can create and and include a charted development plan and production budget for anything your developing or creating. For example building an app, a new website, a game or a physical product like toy, furniture, sports equipment, apparel, food items or some electronic goods. Whatever your product is all aspects of production and design should be clearly elaborated here to bring the whole product picture to life.
Management and operation plan
This entails the description of how the company will run on a day to day basis, it shows in detail the management structure, team, departments, business logistics and the functions of all key staff, partners or co-founders. It literary gives a picture on how the business is run through the management structure and business operation strategy. This will be very useful as it will detail how they function on a daily basis (daily operations process.) The general expenses and capital required to run the business and its departments can also be listed at high level.
This is the big one, the numbers! This describes the whole financial aspect of the business, it’s best written up and presented in a chart format showing the financials to date and projections and forecast into the future. This will cover how all the cash or funding in detail is appropriated by the company. It should cover the internal sources of finance as well as the external sources, the revenue flow chart of how the business will perform at any given time. The expected and projected profits at certain period of time say after 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and more. It also talks about all financial requirements to accomplish the plan already drawn, the assets needed to reach the optimum goal and anything financial that’s owed to creditors or investors.
How to write a business plan involves some of the key important factors discussed and listed above. Producing your plan will take you through a process of practical thinking involving research and planning. Projections and assumptions will also play a big part when writing a business plan for the first time, the plan is just like a road map to where the business ought to go at any period of time. The plan is fundamental to the success of the business just like real capital needed to drive it in real time. Planning and preparation for any given business will help you to have a better chance of succeeding, as the old saying goes if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail which is very true for any business.
Here are a few resource links that can also help provide more detail and also some templates for you to download
- Business Plans A Step By Step Guide
- Word Document Business Plan Template (Downloadable)
- Guide To Writing A Business Plan
- U.S Small Business Administration (Writing A Business Plan)
- Harvard Business Review (How To Write A Great Business Plan)
What are your tips for writings business plan and what are the most important things to include?