A Business Plan is a management tool which help businesses or entrepreneurs in determining in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it and who is to do it to achieve business goals. A Business Plan contains information about a business and it is used to obtain funding from financial institutions or investors.
Writing your business plan is not as difficult as it seems. Whether you are a start-up or growing firm follow the following steps:
- Write the description of the business
- Write the Marketing Plan
- Write the Operational Plan
- Write the Financial Plan
- Organize all the information gathered
- Write the Executive Summary
- Craft a Killer Business Plan from the drafts
WRITE THE DESCRIPTION OF THE BUSINESS
To describe your business you have to define what business you into. In doing so you address what makes your business unique. To write this section you must address the following questions:
- What is your Business Type?
- What products or services are you offering?
- What are the benefits of the products or services?
- What uniqueness differentiates your products and services from competitors’?
- Where will the business be located?
- How accessible is the location to the potential customers?
- What kind of space are you considering?
- What about the building/structure required?
- What is the profit potential?
- What are the growth opportunities?
- What information do you have about your business from bankers, suppliers etc
- What is the legal form of the business? (i.e. proprietorship, partnership, corporation etc)
WRITE THE MARKETING PLAN
Marketing is important in business, hence the need for a marketing plan. Marketing Plan entails all activities involved in the distribution and promotion of goods and services. Note that a bad promotion can ruin a perfect product so tread softly. To develop your Marketing Plan consider the following questions:
- Who are your potential customers?
- What is the growth position of your target market?
- What is the size of your market share?
- What is your promotional strategy?
- What is your pricing strategy?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- How are their products and services different from yours?
- What pricing strategy are you adopting?
- What is the comparison of your pricing to others in the industry?
WRITE THE OPERATIONAL PLAN
Operational plan has to do with determining ahead how the business will be run on a daily basis. Everything from producing to shipping must be addressed. To draft this, you have to answer questions like:
- What is your production process like?
- Who are your suppliers (for raw materials and other requirements)?
- Where will you house your inventory?
- How many staff will you require for your daily operation?
- What equipment or technology will be required in running the business?
WRITE THE MANAGEMENT PLAN
Management involve the activities of planning, organising, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting organisations’ resources to achieve set goals and objectives. Managing a business is not fun as many thought it to be. It requires commitment and tact. The Management Plan states everything about the operation of the business. To draft this you need to supply answers to:
- What is your business experience and how does it help your business?
- Analyze your strengths and weaknesses?
- Who are the members of the Management Team?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What are their duties?
- What are your current personal needs?
- What are your personal plans?
WRITE THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PLAN
this has to do with managing the business’ financial resources to keep it afloat. Draw up plans relating to set up cost (i.e. cost of starting the business) and operating cost (i.e. cost of running the business). Both costs should be budgeted for and should reflect in the plan. To assist in drafting this up you need to answer the following:
- How much money do you have?
- How much do you need to start the business?
- How much do need to keep it running?
- What is your financial projection?
There are 3 statements that should also be part of the financial plan, thus:
- Income statement
- Balance Sheet
- Cash-Flow Analysis
ORGANIZE ALL THE INFORMATION GATHERED
Put together all the information from your drafts and organize them into sections and subheadings. It will look like this:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Description of the company
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Financial Plan
WRITE THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This is a summary of the vision of your business. It states the uniqueness of your business and its operations that position it for success. For instance technology, production process etc. This part of the Business Plan is of particular interest to investors, lenders or banks.
CRAFT A KILLER BUSINESS PLAN FROM THE DRAFTS
After all the research and hard work, you need to put them all together to get a final document. Create a killer Business Plan from all your several drafts by organizing them into a single document. Proofread and edit the document before binding it for presentation.
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