Business plan writing is usually the first step in turning your business idea into reality and something tangible. As you start writing, your thoughts begin to set into a business strategy and you end up with a road map to reach your business goals. A business plan is not only useful for startups, but established businesses can also benefit from revisiting an existing plan. This act of writing down your ideas and thoughts to outline how your business will operate is useful to communicate your vision and make sure everyone is on the same page. A well-written business plan also provides you benchmark and tracks your progress as the company grows.
What is a business plan and why does it matter?
A formal document that outlines the goals, processes, directions, finances, and teams of a business is known as a business plan. You can present it in front of investors to raise capital for your business or use it as an internal document to bring your team into line and provide guidelines to conduct business operations effectively. This also helps you make wise spending decisions to keep overheads to a minimum and increase profit margins.
How to make a business plan
The article contains a guideline on how to get your business plan done without facing any problems or hindrances.
An executive summary briefly introduces your business and outlines the purpose of your business plan. If you are writing this plan to raise business capital for future growth, you should specify how much money you need and what will be the repayment plan. And if you are writing one as an internal document for team communications, explain what you want to achieve with your team and the ideal size of your team. It should also elucidate what your business does, the financial health of the business and recent business achievements, etc.
It is important to describe your industry to introduce your business in the best way possible. The current financial worth of the market, market trends, the current state of the industry, and the future potential of the industry are some important things to be revealed in a good business plan. Do proper research and use accurate numbers to support your claims. You should also include both positive and negative information in your plan to give potential investors and your employees a clear picture of your business’s situation.
Along with highlighting the fundamentals that differentiate you from the competition, you should also provide a detailed analysis of your competitors in the business plan. This research should provide details about their processes, finances, achievements, leadership, and distribution channels of both direct and indirect competitors. Also, highlight the ways you can compete with their strengths and weaknesses.
This part of a business plan provides details about how you are going to carry out the operations to execute the plan successfully. This may include details and information about the organizational structure of your business, business operations, responsibilities and duties of your team, and both physical & digital assets. You can also include a process flow chart in your business plan to make it more effective. However, you should use the right flow chart symbols to explain the processes and operations in the best way possible. Including in-depth information on your leadership team like their resumes also make sense.
Financial history and projections
When writing a business plan, it is vital to disclose all the finances and resources involved in running your business operations. This helps your shareholders and stakeholders understand the progress you have made so far and how you will be performing in near future. Including an income statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet in the business plan is a good idea to give a clear picture of your financial capabilities and projections.
A comprehensive marketing plan is an integral part of a good business plan. This shows how you are going to market your business/products, attract new customers and retain existing ones. A marketing plan can include your brand message, marketing assets like business website and social media profiles, marketing timeline, and allocated budget to keep customers engaged across different marketing channels. When creating a business marketing plan, competitor analysis can help you understand how they are marketing themselves and what you should do to stand out.
Since a business plan is an important document, you must keep it detailed, concise, and simple at the same time. When writing one, focus on keeping things short without affecting their purposes. In order to make sure your business plan is perfect and makes sense, have someone review it and highlight flaws if any. Using a business plan template is a good idea if you are writing it for the first time.