Have you ever thought of an idea that you just know will make for a great business concept…but when you started to pen it down, you suddenly found yourself at a loss?
Or perhaps you might dream of one day creating your own business, but not know where to begin. Does starting your own business from scratch sound daunting and ambitious?
Well, starting your own business may be a worthy goal, but every successful startup begins with having a solid business plan.
A business plan is more than just a fancy writeup. It defines what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them. In your business plan, you should really sound out all your ideas and make sure they are backed up well. When you are writing your plan, ask yourself these questions: Are there any loopholes in your plans that may cause you to lose money? Is your business idea sustainable?
Additionally, your business plan can also be used to convince investors that your business deserves their support. Every startup needs some financial capital to get off the ground, so you will likely want to approach investors for that purpose. When you present your business idea to attract these investors or take on a loan, your business plan has to be solid enough to convince the investors to fund your venture. For them to see that your plan can succeed, it is of utmost importance that you detail as much information in your writeup as possible.
It can be easy to say that you have a great business plan to get started on…but how do you actually avoid just staring at a blank page?
If you are not sure how to begin writing your business plan, try following a format. There is no one recommended format that fits any idea, but every business plan will need to detail a few key pieces of information.
As with other aspects of a business plan, what information you include and how you organize it is largely up to how you can present your information in a way that best sells your idea. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to split up each section into sub-categories or just condense each section under one heading.
However you wish to organize the writeup, your plan should contain the following information.
This section is where you go through what your business is all about, what inspired you to create this business, and who your business is targeting. You should also go through your goals and aspirations for your business – but remember to keep your expectations reasonable for a startup company.
Even though the executive summary should start off your business plan, you may actually want to write this part last if that helps you to summarize your business better.
This part of your writeup describes what form your business will take on – whether it is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, or some other type of business structure. You can also use this section to list the members of your staff, even if you are the only one, and how each person will contribute to the overall operation of the business.
State in clear detail what products or services your business is offering and how they benefit the target audience. Discuss your competition, if any, and describe how you plan to get your business on par with them.
The operational plan shows how you will carry out daily procedures to deliver your products in the most efficient and effective way. You should include any equipment you plan to use, the methods you are going to use for production and your business’ daily processes. If there are any legal issues with starting your business, such as if you require a permit, license or insurance, be sure to address these concerns in this section.
In your marketing plan, include details such as how you plan to advertize your business, connect with both your potential and existing customers, and how you will create a brand image that aligns with your goals. Will you be printing flyers or posting about your business on social media? If so, state that here.
To show your investors that your business model is profitable, it is always good to do the calculations and show some actual figures in this section. Mention your initial expenses required, such as the cost of purchasing all your equipment and branding your business. Always remember to allocate extra in case of unforeseen costs. Additionally, adding charts or figure graphs here can help to illustrate your future projections for your business.
On top of the basic structure, you may want to have these two pointers in mind while you get to writing your business plan.
Your business plan is meant to be read, and investors have little time to spend on reading proposals. They are busy people with hundreds of writeups to look at, so they will likely just skim the key ideas of your plan to see if it aligns with their interests. To improve the readability of your business plan, keep it objective and to the point.
Other than readability, it is also a good idea to keep your business plan concise because a business plan is not meant to be static. Your writeup should be a document that you keep revisiting and revising over the course of running your business. Even after your startup has been established, writing your business plan does not stop there. It should be refined as needed because various aspects of your business will change over time. Thus, if your business plan is as long as an encyclopaedia, it is likely to end up a white elephant in a drawer, never to be read.
While using lots of technical terms can make your writing sound impressive to experts, the chances are that those who are going to read your business plan, such as investors, are not experts in your industry. If you use a lot of technical jargon, all it does is confuse people and make it more difficult for them to understand what your plan is about. It is best to come up with a writeup that explains your objectives clearly and is understandable by both experts as well as non-experts.
Now that you have an idea of how to go about writing your business plan, it is time to get into action! You may be excited to begin, but never rush writing your business plan – be sure to consider your points carefully and make sure everything you are including in your plan aligns with your aspirations for the business.
All the best with your business venture!
Nov 22, 2019