Some entrepreneurs do not like the idea of long-term planning. Hence, they do not believe in the concept of a business plan. But the truth is the importance of a business plan to start-ups cannot be overestimated. It is the blueprint of your business.
A business plan is a detailed description of your business, the projections, and the strategies to execute to upscale your business.
The main reason you should spend time and resources on making a good business plan is that it provides you with directions that will focus on key business activities. It also helps in short-term budgeting and loan acquisition. Investors will also want to review your business plan before raising funds for you.
Different companies require different business plans. However, these five tips are indispensable:
1. The executive summary. That is the first page of your business plan, yet the last thing to write. Efforts must be put into creating an excellent executive summary. It must have clarity and focus. It will awaken the interest of everyone who chances on your business plan.
A quality executive summary should include but is not limited to the following:
Business and product description. It describes all the products and services of your business. It must also indicate how different your product stands in the face of competitors.
Current positioning and targeting. It involves creating a vision board. Describe the current stance of your business while providing projections of the future expectations of the business.
Financial outlook and requirements. Determine the financial need of your business. It will inform investors of the type of assistance you desire to acquire. It is so important in your fundraising process.
Past and future achievements and goals. It is worth noting that readers of your business plan delight in knowing what impact your business has made. They will also want to see what you intend to achieve in the timelines.
2. Business overview. Right after the executive summary, your business plan should give a clear explanation of what your business proposition is and how it relates to the current market. Over here, you are going to explain in simple terms:
What does your company do? What products and services do you offer? Which market does it operate in? Who are its targeted customers?
You will have to inform the reader about the market dynamics of your business. It will provide information on how your business will thrive in the given business environment under competition.
3. Sales and marketing strategy. Your business will only increase when you get consumers to buy your products or services. In this day of high competition in the business world, how do you get customers to direct their attention to you instead of your competitor?
That is the information you will need to provide in this section. First, define who your target market is. Assess the market and identify threats and opportunities. Also, put up your product/service features and target a specific niche of the business environment.
Beyond all those mentioned above, you must determine your competition, market plan, budget, pricing, and positioning.
4. Operations and management. How are you going to manage your business? What are your operational plans, procedures, and your organizational structure? These are key components of your business and must be stated clearly.
In this section, you will have to determine the following: Service delivery, suppliers, credit policies and legal environment, and more.
5. Your financial data. This section should include a balance sheet outlining your current position. If you are a start-up, your business plan should consist of your start-up cost and a cash flow budget.
The financial data should provide adequate information on the capital requirement, breakeven analysis, forecasts, and profit and loss projections.
If you get this section right, it will boost investors' interest in financing your business. It shows how prepared you are for your business.
Your business plan is a formal written document that describes goals and methods of achieving them. It should be able to speak vividly to investors and readers about your business in your absence. You’ll want it to be detailed, clear, and concise.
A successful business plan will not only attract investors, but it will also help your business to be successful! Just remember that it’s also important to be flexible when circumstances require.
Thank you for reading our blog!
- Mike Acker
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