From childhood we have been taught to have a plan for everything we do in life. Why is planning so essential? According to the a plan is a “Written account of intended future course of action aimed at achieving specific goal within a specific timeframe. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom, and often includes best case, expected case, and worst case scenarios”. In case of a business where there is lot of risk involved, it is always advisable to have a business plan written which will guide the businessman in every step. In this highly competitive business world , good planning helps a businessman to identify and monetise his market opportunities efficiently.Planning is a continuous process though. The business plan should evolve with the growth of business. How to Write the business plan is therefore a paramount concern for all entrepreneurs.The steps involved in writing the business plan are similar for all business be it textile business, pharmaceuticals, restaurants,etc.
A business plan is about creating a roadmap for your business to look ahead, allocate resources, grab opportunities and face problems as soon as they arise. It is unfortunate that many people think of business plans as something to be used for starting a new business or applying for a business loan. But business plans can also play a major role in helping you run a business and grow it.
The business plan should ideally contain all your answers, solutions and forecasts for all the issues and decisions that a startup or new business must act upon. Before we get to what things you need to include in it, let’s take a look at how to write a business plan.
This is one of the most common questions asked by new entrepreneurs and startup founders. Most business experts say it should be around at least 30 to 50 pages, but the length can vary based on your personal perspective and business model.
Free Business Plan Samples and Templates
Let’s make this very simple. You can download free or paid business plan samples and templates that are designed for your particular type of business and industry. Modify the template and plan you like, and add in your own data.
Bplans has a whole bunch of free business plans, categorised by industry and business type. If you want more options and you are willing to pay for it, check out LivePlan, which has 500 business plans.
Know Your Audience
Your plan should be designed and written keeping in mind the audience that is going to be reading it. For example, it may be just for internal use as a benchmark for you, your partners and your team to compare actual performance against forecasts. In this case, you can simply write it in the technical jargon that you are all comfortable with in conversation.
But if the business plan is also going to be submitted to your bankers, venture capitalists and other investors, then it has to simplified and explained in terms that these non-technical people would understand too. The focus of the plan will also change, with the financial, marketing and sales aspects of the plan now taking center-stage, as opposed to the technology and other processes.
You can still use the appendix of your plan to provide details about all the thrilling geeky stuff that you want to explain but no one else may otherwise easily understand.
Key Points to Include in Your Executive Summary
Below are some of the key elements to be discussed in brief in the executive summary:
Key points to include in company description
What to Include in Your Market Analysis
In this section you should include your company’s organisation structure, ownership of the company, management team with their profiles, and board of directors with their qualifications as well
A simple and effective way to lay your company’s structure is by creating organisational charts with a description. This is very important for potential investor.
The following ownership information should be mentioned in your business plan
Provide following information of the top management:
Board of Directors’ Qualifications
If you have a board of directors, be sure to gather the following information when developing the outline for your business plan:
In this section, describe your service or product, benefits and why your product will satiate a need for your target customers.
What to Include in Your Service or Product Line Section
You should include following four strategies to in the overall marketing strategy
You can define your sales strategy once you are done with the marketing strategy.
Your overall sales strategy should include two elements:
If you are expecting funding for your business, outline the requirements here
Your funding request should include the following information:
You can allocate the resources effectively only when you come up with a clear financial objectives.
If you have well established business already, then it is important to provide historical data regarding the performance of the company. Most of the investors or creditors ask for three to five years data depending on the years that the business existed.
All businesses, whether startup or established, need to provide the prospective data because investors want to know the position and scope of the business in next five years.
The appendix would include: