Business plans are an essential element to success, but how do you go about actually writing one? Like most other things, it’s really not that difficult once you know how. Here we’ll take you through seven sections that are regarded as business plan must-haves to help you create a BP that works. Ready? Great, let’s get started.
This is the section where you need to outline all of the important aspects of your business plan. For this reason, the executive summary is best written last, even though it should be placed on the front page of your document.
Avoid jargon as much as possible here and get your point across as succinctly as you can. The reader will likely be unfamiliar with your particular business, so keeping things simple is imperative.
Explain what you intend to supply, be it a product or service, and the benefits associated with it. Let them know about how you are currently performing and the opportunity that you see in your marketplace. Offer up financial projections and your requirements in terms of funding. Finally, spell out the returns that investors can hope to receive should they choose to put their money into your business.
This part of your plan should inform the reader of the industry in which your business falls and give an overview of the present marketplace as well as the potential for future possibilities.
Explain how your business fits in to the industry as a whole and elaborate on how it differs from other companies in the same niche. You can also include details of the management structure of your business in this section too, as well as any previous experience you may have in the industry.
Lay out clearly all of the analysis that you have done on the present marketplace in order to define how you came across the market that you’ll be targeting. Expand upon each segment of the market and highlight important trends that you have uncovered.
Inform the reader of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how you intend to take advantage of the areas in which they may be lacking. Good competitor analysis will outline exactly what your strategy is for taking on your business rivals and how you plan to block any efforts from the competition to infiltrate your section of the market once your business is established.
Being able to demonstrate that you are aware that your business will be vulnerable to competitors and that you have planned for such eventualities will show that you are forward thinking and in touch with the market that you will be entering.
Design and Development Plan
This is your chance to give details about your product in more depth and allow the reader to see how its development came to be. Include timelines and show the development of the product in terms of the company itself. Touch upon the marketing aspect and drill down on the development budget needed for your company to achieve its objectives over the coming years.
Operations and Management Plan
Under this heading you will want to include how your business will operate going forward. Point out any logistical features that you feel are relevant and describe exactly how the business functions on a day-to-day basis.
Spell out what is expected of the management team and what their responsibilities to the company are. This section should also include any expenses that are pertinent to the overall operation of your business.
Laying out your financial forecasts is an essential part of your business plan, even if it does appear last within the document. Give a realistic forecast of future sales to begin with and break this down into different components such as product and buyer types.
Next, you’ll need to include your cash-flow forecast. This is vital, as having a solid cash-flow is naturally an essential part of your business’s survival. Include details of wages, sales revenue and any other relevant movement of cash both in and out of your business. If you are having problems with your cash-flow then seek help in the form of a business cash advance.
Lastly, finish up with a profit and loss forecast that will point out exactly how your company will progress over certain timeframes. Break down the next five years of trading and give realistic projections of how each time period will play out.
Including these seven sections to your business plan is essential to your success, but it really comes down to the content contained within each of them. It’s vital that you do your homework and present the facts clearly in order to get the most out of this very important document.