A business plan describes in writing the future of your business. It tells what you plan to do, how you plan to do it and with whom. If for instance, you write in a brief moment of clarity in a café, behind a napkin, a description of your strategy, you have written a plan or at least, the first step.
Business plans are inherently about strategy. You consider the starting line, the resources, and the ability, then the finish line (usually about five years into the future) during which time the business will have grown in its abilities and resources as well as profitability and assets. The plan will detail how to get there.
Usually, if follows a particular structure:-
- Executive summary
Usually, the first page is the title page and it is followed by the executive summary. This tells the reader what they can expect in the document and ideally, what you want. It is important because most of the time, the reader does not get to know what you want until they are deep into the document. They could sometimes not have the time to read that far so clearly state what you want here.
- A description of the business
In this section, you describe the nooks and crannies of the industry, how it is in the present and the possible futures for it. Intense research is necessary. You should also offer information regarding the markets that exist in the industry. If you come across new developments that have the potential to affect or benefit your business, include them here as well.
- Marketing strategies
In this part, as with other business processes, you cannot afford to be sloppy. Make sure to make a market strategy that takes into considerations an in-depth knowledge of the market. You, as the entrepreneur should be familiar with all the market aspects and use this information to define your ideal customer. This is important especially when it comes to market positioning.
- Competitive edge
The entrepreneur is to conduct a competitive analysis a SWOT analysis of the competitors in the market. You can then set strategies that will offer a unique advantage and determine the barriers that you have to overcome in order to outdo competition as you enter the market. It also helps in identifying weaknesses that you can take advantage of in the development of the product to foster success.
- Service design and its development
Here, you provide the investors with a description of the design of the service, you chart its development and how you will market the company. It is here also that you create a budget that will enable to company to achieve its goals.
- Operations and management
You must be able to articulate the business functions in the long term here. Highlight the necessary arrangements that must be made, who is responsible for each and who they report to. Also include information about the operational sectors of the company and their needs in terms of both tangible and intangible capital to do their work well.
- Financial analysis and statements
Any investor wants to know that the money they invest is put to good use and will pan out good profits. Use this section to break down the business needs and expenses.
Ultimately, writing a good business plan is about clarity and strategy. You may also want to hire a writer for the same because after all, part of being a good manager is knowing when to delegate.