Writing a successful business plan to drive your activity may seem like a no-brainer. Yet too many individuals rush through this all-important stage. In this blog post we highlight 5 key areas for inclusion.
Firstly, what is a business plan and why should I have one?
A business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. This important document will help you:
- Clarify your business idea
- Spot potential problems
- Set out your goals
- Measure your progress
Having a solid business plan will also help you secure investment or a loan from a bank to help you get started. So, how do you write one and how do you make it successful? Every business plan will differ depending on the type of business being created and the factors that will go into it. However, every plan will need:
This should include a description of your business and outline the customer problem being uniquely solved by the business so the reader understands what you are trying to achieve. Here you will list the main takeaways of each major section of the overall plan. Remember to be positive, sell your idea!
A company overview provides the reader of your business plan with basic background information about your company. Here you will provide the following information: company name, business structure, location, ownership, company history, mission statement and your product/service and customer type.
This should include the specific marketing actions that will be used to implement your business idea with research shown to back up your decisions. The marketing section will be split into three parts, 1. Market analysis, 2. Competitive analysis and 3. Specific marketing actions.
Here you will include information on each key person involved in the business. You want to demonstrate the technical abilities of each person and their position in the business.
The financial section will demonstrate that the business is viable. You will address your current finances and future financial state by using current variables to predict future income, asset values, income projections and withdrawal plans. Essentially, you are showcasing steps or specific goals for spending and saving. This is a very important step if you plan to apply for a loan.
These imperative stages will help you understand your business more and focus on specific goals and priorities. While these stages are important, don’t forget the small stuff too! For example, your document layout. Include a cover page and add your business logo, name and the date you have prepared the document.
Also, include a table of contents to make it easier for the reader to find the information they are looking for, it also makes things look professional and well-presented. There are many business plan templates out there, a google search or a look through Microsoft Word templates will point you in the right direction, you just have to make sure you are putting in the right information for your business!
Even if you’re able to write your business plan quickly, it’s worth spending time refining it. Make sure you’ve clarified your business idea, spotted any potential problems, set out your goals clearly and have a firm way of measuring your progress.
Need further help to ensure your business plan hits the mark? Find out how our Business Analysis programme can review and evaluate your progress.