How to Write your Business Plan?
A sound business plan is an essential element to lead a business towards a consistent pathway of success. Therefore, your business plan is crucial to keep in check your objectives as well as the methods you will follow to reach those objectives. Business plans are important for yourself to keep track of your progress, and is also crucial when you are looking for potential investors for your business. Here are some important elements that you need in your business plan, to make it sound, systematic and explanatory.
Executive Summary: Executive summary tells your reader briefly about your company, in about ideally one to two pages. Include facts about your company, its objectives, mission, long term goal, and how you intend to succeed at it. Tell you readers about your product or your summary, and how it fits in the market, what its needs are and what gap you are trying to fill. Executive summary also includes in brief about your financial information, and also your growth plan if you are planning to look for investors or for financing. Also include information about the company’s operations, employees and location.
Products and Services: Give a thorough description of your product or service. Why is your product or service important? What need does it cater to? Who are your target customers? Who are your vendors? All these questions and more are important to be addressed to emphasize on the credibility and importance of your business. Your plan should clearly show that you have done your research, identified the placement of your product within the market domain and are confident in what you are offering. Especially if you are trying to submit your business plan to a potential investor or a funder it is crucial that you sell your idea by convincing your investors that your product and service is worth the money and effort!
Market Analysis: Market analysis is important to identify who your customers are and to also identify where you stand with your product and service. It is important to identify the demands and trends in market place, and place a good strategy of how you will leverage your marketing to get to your desired customers. A strong market analysis also includes identifying who your competitors are. What do you have that they don’t? Why should people choose you? What edge do you have over all the other competitors offering similar services or products? Or how will you collaborate with them? While submitting your business plan to potential investors, market analysis can be make or break, for it shows how sure you are of your competence, your strategies and if you show promise to crack the code.
Strategy and Action Plan: Now that you have written about yourself, your product, its market and your objectives, you will have to lay out the draft of how you will go about achieving milestones that you set for your business. What are the steps you will take? At this point and this section, it is also a good idea to include details about your team. Who is responsible for what? If you are submitting your business plan to a potential investor, you can also put CV of your team to showcase the strengths you have on board with you. Make a timeline for major tasks you set out for yourself. Your action plan helps you to have clarity on your objectives and the steps you need to take to fulfill them. It is a great idea to draft your actions based on your objectives and even put indicators on how you will measure its success. In this section while you will put all your future strategies, don’t forget to include the position you are already at, and what you have already achieved on the way.
Financial Planning: If you are submitting your business plan to investors or funders, it is of utmost importance to clearly mention the amount of investment you require, and how you plan to use the money. Also show how you will maintain transparency and report to your investors. Show a detailed budget. Which objective requires the most money to be fulfilled? How have your revenue been till date? How do you plan to bring in returns to your company? Even if you are not submitting to anybody, having financial plan makes it very efficient to keep your balance in check, and be updated about your cash inflow and outflow.
Business plans are great to showcase your business to your investors, clients, or any other readers, and equally important to keep you in track of your progress and required future roadmaps. So get that paper and pen out, or your laptop, or any other device you use, and get building!