One of the prerequisites of running your own business is to have a written business plan. Whether it’s to provide direction or attract new investors, a business plan is vital for the success for your business. But, how do you write a business plan? Research recommends that a business plan should include;
Executive summary – a snapshot of your business.
Company description – describes what you do.
Market analysis – research on your industry, market, and competitors.
Organisation and management – your business and management structure.
Service or product – the products or services you’re offering.
Marketing and sales – how you’ll market your business and your sales strategy.
Funding request – how much money you’ll need for the next 3 to 5 years.
Financial projections – supply information like balance sheets.
Appendix- an optional section that includes CV’s.
However, getting started can be sometimes difficult to do. So, here’s a 7 step guide to writing a perfect business plan.
1. Research Research, Research
Research and analyse your product, the market and your objective expertise. Consider spending twice as much time researching, evaluating and thinking as you spend actually writing the business plan itself. To write the perfect plan, you must know your company, your product, your competition and the market intimately.
In other words, it’s your responsibility to know everything you can about your business and the industry that you’re entering into. Read up on everything you can about your industry and talk to your prospective audience.
2. Determine the Purpose Of Your Plan
A business plan as defined by most Entrepreneurs is a “written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background containing a projected profit and loss statement”. However, your business plan can serve for several different purposes.
Your business plan is also a road map that provides directions, so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. That’s important to keep in mind if you’re self-funding or bootstrapping your business. But, if you want to attract investors, then your plan will have a different purpose and you’ll have to write your plan that targets them so it will have to be as clear and concise as possible. When you define your plan, make sure you have defined these goals personally as well.
3. Create a Company Profile
Your company profile includes the history of your organisation, what products or services you offer, your target market and audience, your resources, how you’re going to solve a problem, and what makes your business unique.
Company profiles are often found on the company’s official website and are used to attract possible customers and talent. However, your profile can be used to describe your company in your business plan. It’s not only an essential component of your business plan, it’s also one of the first written parts of the plan.
4. Document All Aspects Of Your Business
Investors want to make sure that your business is going to make them money. Because of this expectation, investors want to know everything about your business. To help with this process, document everything from your assets, liabilities, and the company projections. Also don’t forget seemingly minor details like your location strategy.
5. Have a Strategic Marketing Plan In Place
A great business plan will always include a strategic and aggressive marketing plan. This typically includes achieving marketing objectives like;
- The Introduction of new products
- Extend or regain market for existing product
- Enter new territories for the company
- Boost sales in a particular product, market or price range. Where will this business come from? Be specific.
- Cross-selling, consider one product with another
- Enter into long-term contracts with your best clients
- Raise prices without cutting into sales figures
- Refine the products you sell
- Have a marketing strategy
- Enhance manufacturing/product delivery
- Each marketing objective should have several goals and tactics
In the objectives section of your marketing plan, focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the marketing tasks for the year ahead. In the implementation section, focus on the practical areas of who, where, when and how.
6. Make It Flexible Based On Your Audience
The potential readers of a business plan are mixed, ranging from bankers and venture capitalists to employees, Although this is a diverse group, it is a particular one. And each type of reader does have certain typical interests. If you know these interests up front, you can be sure to take them into account when preparing a plan for that particular audience.
For example, bankers will be more interested in balance sheets and cash-flow statements, while venture capitalists are looking at the basic business concept and your management team. The manager on your team. Because of this, make sure that your plan can be modified depending on the audience reading it. However, keep these alterations limited from one plan to another. This means when sharing financial projections, keep that data the same across the board.
7. Explain Why You Care
Whether you’re sharing your plan with an investor, customer, your plan needs to show that you’re passionate, dedicated, and actually care about your business. You could discuss the mistakes that you’ve learned, the problems that you’re hoping to solve, listing your values, and what makes you stand out from the competition.
By explaining why you care about your business creates an emotional connection with others so that they’ll support your organisation going forward.
Alternative Funding For Ambitious Businesses
As you can see, much thought and consideration must go into a proper business plan. This business plan will form the basis of your application when applying for funding from a finance broker, bank or other funding source. At Business Funding Shop, we believe all businesses should be able to get the funding they need to startup or grow, that’s why we offer a comprehensive range of business funding options to suit any requirement. For more information, contact one of our expert brokers today on 0800 047 2389 or fill out a funding request form and we’ll get back to you.