by John Stone, Bizzmark Blog |
A business plan represents written description of your company’s future and it is one of the most important steps in creating a successful business. The plan itself will not guarantee success, but combined with great ideas it will definitely boost company odds. Planning is used for setting business goals and determining all possible risks and outcomes in the future to come. They help company management to direct company’s business in the desired way and they are also used for attracting possible investors.
Investors don’t have much time, and they usually just give a short glance at each business plan that’s laid on their table, so when it comes to writing, respecting the common form is one of the most important things. In common practice business plans have seven different sections:
- Executive Summary
Executive Summary is the short part that follows the title page. It should outline business owner’s desires and mission and clearly state what the owner is asking from company management or possible investor.
- Business Description
This is the description of the industry company is trying to compete in. It should contain the description of the present industry outlook, together with competition assessment and of course the future opportunities the company shell use. If the industry contains several markets, on which the company is planning to compete, all of these should be described in this section, together with new products, trends and inventions that can influence future outcomes.
- Market Strategies
Before adding possible market strategies to business plans, entrepreneurs need to do a broad market analysis and become familiar with all market aspects. They should also determine company’s target audience in order to position it and enable it to take its share of sales.
- Competitive Analysis
This analysis determines strengths and weaknesses of company’s rivals on the market. This section should include plans for creating advantage and overtaking parts of rival’s market share as well as barriers that will prevent them from taking over. Every weakness or fail of rival’s product should be mentioned in this analysis, no matter how inessential does it seem.
- Design and Development Plans
Description of the company’s products should be in this section, together with plans for its development during future production. This section should also determine product’s marketing budget and give strong emphasize on its design and ways to make it more appealing to the targeted audience.
- Operations and Management Plans
This section represents an elaborate analysis of business functioning on a continuing basis. It highlights the logistics of the whole operation and assigns parts of work to each individual or division within the company. It also determines individual responsibility for each member of the management team.
- Financial Factors
Although financial data is very a important criteria for starting or funding certain business, it should always be at the back of a business plan. Investors should first be informed about the great possibilities that can come out from investing in certain company, and determining the needed figures should always come at the end, when they are already feel thrilled about the idea.
Other Things to Take Into Consideration
Entrepreneurs should get rid of all the fluff and sweet talk and make their plan concise and straight to the point. Investors don’t like reading long business plans and they would rather choose a plan with more conservative approach and projections than the one that contains plenty of filler language.
Add Creative Visuals
Business plan is not all about words. Some ideas need to be presented with graphs, charts, pictures and even sketches. These will break up the text and create a better flow. Some entrepreneurs like to go few steps beyond with placing business plans into design templates, which can also work well with the template design that fits company’s business niche. The most important thing when adding visuals and placing business plans into templates is not to make them look too colorful, and to compose tasteful and unobtrusive final document.
One of the most important things when starting a business is to check legal requirements set by federal, state, county and municipality governments. Every business plan should contain at least one paragraph that confirms that company plans for the future are abiding all rules and laws set by different public institutions. Sometimes it’s advisable to hire a firm that will provide entrepreneurs with quality business legal advice and when it comes to business plan it has to convince investors that they won’t have any legal problems if they decide to invest money in entrepreneur’s venture.
Good idea is the most important thing for starting a successful business, but the good plan ensures that you share it right and that all associates in the venture understand your motives and goals. This gives us the conclusion that good planning is one of the essentials for company’s future development.