Creating a Business Plan - Very Brief Guide
A Business Plan shows that you have considered and thought through most of the important aspects of your business. That’s why when you go for a loan or approach investors they will ask to see it.
Business is not an exact science. You have to make some assumptions, you have to be prepared to back your creative ideas. It makes a big difference if you have considered the big and small questions and that you have a plan, rather than conducting business on the basis of reactions to every day occurrences and gut feelings.
Even if you are a small business there are major benefits in having a plan and following it through. And remember - a Business Plan is a living operational document that you can change as you gain more information.
Elements of a Business Plan
- Executive Summary- This provides an overview of the company. It should include a basic introduction, a company description, market review and brief analysis, leading on to product or service description and marketing strategy. Management personnel and a financial plan should follow.
- Mission Statement – a paragraph that sets out the principals and beliefs and reason for being a company.
- Company Description, brief review of the company, its competencies, the products or services it produces and the market needs that it meets.
- Market Analysis – Describe the market as a whole, identify and quantify the target market. Refer to market trends, growth and needs.
- Industry Analysis – Describe your area more specifically and consider the main competitors and your distinctive advantage
- Products and or Services – Describe the products and their competitive advantage, technology and future development plans
- Marketing and Sales – Refer to the main components of marketing - product, price, promotion, distribution and sales.
Describe the marketing strategy, objectives and programs as
well as sales forecasts and strategic alliances.
- Operations - Describe how the business is going to operate.
- Ownership and Management – Detail the main management team and their background and the legal structure of the business
- Milestones – What will be happening when, when are new products going to be launched, in which markets.
- Financial Plan - including a projected profit and loss and expected cash flow