A business plan should be designed to be your roadmap to a successful business, and have the dream of what you want your business to be, but also be realistic. Many business plans are written and never looked at again. So how can you make a business plan that it useful and that will work for you? A business plan is used to get investors, and to give you guidance. One important thing to remember is that a business plan is a moving target. Circumstances may change, and new ideas will sprout. The key is to keep updating and evolving your business plan to reflect your current situation.
A business plan is not something that can be written in an evening. It should be well researched, thought out and discussed. Are your plans attainable? Do you have immediate and long term goals? Writing down notes, outlines, and drafts can help shape and mold your workable business plan.
What are the parts of a well drafted business plan?
You should be able to find many examples of well written business plans online. You can also find an entrepreneur mentor who has successfully utilized their business plan and ask to see it as an example. Most business plans are formatting similarly, with well researched information provided.
- The executive summary – This is the overall outline of the business plan. Although this is the first thing someone will read, it should be written last as it is a summary of all the contents within your business plan. Be clear in your summary about what you want and what you are looking for. If this was the only thing an investor will read, what do you need them to know?
- The business description – Include a basic description of the industry in which your business will function. What does the future of this industry look like, and how will your business play a part in that future? Provide abundant information on all the possible markets within such industry, including any new products or developments that will have any kind of effect on your business.
- Your marketing strategies – Deep research must be done in order to accomplish this section in a respectable manner. A meticulous market analysis is necessary. This forces you to become familiar with all aspects of the market which in turn will let you define the target market. This will help you know how to increase and gain sales from the very beginning. For example when I was drafting the business plan for Greenr airport transfer company together with Fabien the director, we found out that 60% of the customers looking for a cab do so an hour before you actually need it. So an Online booking system was a must.
- A competitive analysis – Do you know who your competitors are and what are their strengths and weaknesses within your market? What will give you an advantage? What will be your barriers to entering the market and how do you plan on combating them? This section is important to be aware of prior to opening your business.
- A design and development plan – This section provides investors, and yourself, with a description of the product’s design. It explains the development of the product within the context of production, the marketing while creating a development budget. What will it take for you and your company to reach its goals?
- An operations and management plan – Your business is more than just the product. How will you run your business’ functions on an ongoing basis? This will explain the logistics, including responsibilities of management, who is in charge of what, and the money required to make it all happen.
- The financial factors – This is where all the numbers go. Your personnel numbers, overhead expenses, capital requirements table, cost of good table, and other financial aspects of your business.
- Licenses – One must also take into consideration the paperwork and fees involved to get a license or to open a company. When we were drafting the plan for Krofork, an igaming company in Malta, we found out that the Malta online gaming license process will take up to eight months. What that means is that we had capital in the bank sitting there while we waited and waited!
This is just a basic overview of how to create a business plan that works. There are more details required for each section. Again, this plan is a moving target. As situations change, your business plan should change with it. The information you research for your business plan is just as much for your benefit as it is for getting investors involved.
Knowing what you are getting into beforehand can make the difference between a successful business, and one that needs to begin start over. Someone who writes a business plan will be more likely to research markets, prepare projections, and be more likely to follow through with their plans. There are many books and resources online to begin writing and researching your business plan as soon as possible to make your dream a reality.