Wondering about what is a business plan and why it is important to write a business plan before launching a business, Read more to help you understand how to create an effective business plan.
A business plan is a written document that outlines how you want to run your company in the future. While most new business owners have a basic notion of how they want their company to function, their plans are rarely formalised.
As the company grows and new issues arise, the owner will frequently need to enlist the help of others. This is a period when the business owner is under pressure to come up with a strategic plan. Unfortunately, this period provides the least amount of preparation time.
A business plan serves as a roadmap or compass for one’s company; without it, you will become disoriented. The most common failure is simply putting it off.
A business plan includes a description of one’s company, a competitive analysis, and various financial computations.
Many young business owners are so enthralled by their notion that they are impatient to get started and do not have the patience to consider the economic reality of their venture.
For any new business owner, filling out the numerous financial documents in your plan might be a daunting task. Many people are terrified by financial computations and prefer to avoid them. If you identify either of these inclinations in yourself, it is even more critical that you carefully make your financial estimates and listen to what they say.
It is critical that certified public accountants, book-keepers, business plan, or financial advisors be a part of your business support team to lessen this type of intimidation many people have with a plan. If one does not have access to these professionals to help one with his or her plans, one can take an accounting course and get the most up-to-date accounting software.
What to consider while creating an effective business plan?
It should be kept in mind that you are the brain of your company, while your accountant is the heart, and your lawyer is the lungs. An accountant can assist you in keeping track of your money, while an attorney can assist you in protecting it.
Many people skip the business plan step because over 90% of start-up enterprises are supported by private sources such as retirement or pension plans, unemployment insurance payments, saving accounts, divorce settlements, child support payments, and so on.
Even if one does not need money to start a firm, establishing a strategy will help one determine whether the concept is viable from the outset. You leave way too many things to chance if you do not have a plan.
If you launched your company or organisation without a plan of action and are now on the verge of running out of cash, you will likely need to draft an expansion business plan to explore additional financing sources as you grow your company.
When looking for funding for your business, you should make yourself known to funding sources well before asking for help; approach multiple sources of financing; educate yourself on the available financing options; know which options are available for your type of service or product; decide which options to pursue at various stages of your company’s growth; and always be ready to prepare your business for financing.
If one is planning to seek for a business loan, need investors, have business partners, have a management team, or are selling the business, then one will need a plan.
One can use his or her plan to create the interest of potential investors, employees, and strategic partners.
It is recommended to get copies of loan applications used by banks, commercial financing businesses, and the government before you start writing your business plan. These programs will help you figure out how much financial data you will need to include in your business plan.
A start-up plan, which describes the procedures for starting a new business, and an expansion plan, which will move the company or business organisation to the next levolor to a larger market, are the two most common plans.
The plan count is not a good indicator of how effective your business plan will be. Measure the plan’s readability instead. After 15 minutes of skimming or browsing, a good plan should give a reader a general idea of what a business owner is trying to accomplish.
The more common start-up and expansion plans prepared for outsiders often have:
- 20-40 pages of text
- Easy to read
- Well-spaced text
- Bulleted texts
- Business graphics
- Brief financial tables
- Financial data in appendices
The following sections must be included in a business plan:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Product or service
- Market analysis
- Strategy and implementation
- Web strategy summary
- Management team
- Financial analysis
The executive summary is the most significant section of a business plan. The executive summary serves as a high-level overview of the complete business plan. If one’s executive summary is weak, the bankers and potential investors are unlikely to read the complete business plan.
If writing a good business plan is missed, one’s company is likely to encounter numerous dangers, and one could be out of business in two to five years.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written document that explains in detail how a company, usually a start-up, defines its objectives and plans to achieve them. From a marketing, financial, and operational aspect, a business plan lays forth a documented path for the company.
Business plans are essential documentation that is used by both the company’s external and internal audiences. A business plan, for example, is used to attract investment or acquire financing before a company has established a track record. They are also an excellent way for an organisation’s senior teams to stay on the same page when it comes to strategic action items and stay on track to meet their objectives.
A business plan is important for any company, especially important for new businesses. The plan should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis to check if goals have been accomplished or if they have changed and evolved. A fresh business plan is sometimes written for an existing company that has opted to take a different path.
Even among competitors in the same industry, business plans are rarely identical. However, they all include the same essential components, such as an executive summary and a full explanation of the company, its services, and its products. It also explains how the company expects to attain its objectives.
At the very least, the plan should include an outline of the industry in which the company will operate and how it will set itself apart from possible competitors.
Elements of a business plan
As previously said, no two company plans are the same. However, they all contain the same elements. The following are some of the most typical and important elements of a business plan:
The mission statement, as well as any information about the company’s leadership, staff, operations, and location, are included in the executive summary.
Products and services
This element provides the company to describe the products and services it will provide, as well as prices, product’s lifespan, and consumer benefits. Production and manufacturing techniques, as well as any patients or proprietary technologies owned by the corporation, may be included in this section. Any research and development information might be added in this element.
A company must have a thorough understanding of its industry and target market. It will describe the competition, including its strengths and shortcomings, as well as how it affects the industry. It will also outline the predicted consumer demand for what the company is selling, as well as how simple or difficult it will be to overtake incumbents.
This element explains how the organisation plans to acquire and retain customers, as well as how it plans to communicate with them. This necessitates the development of a clear distribution strategy. It will also detail advertising and marketing campaign plans, as well as the media channels through which those campaigns will be carried out.
The company should incorporate finance its financial planning and future estimates in order to entice the party reading the business plan. For already-established businesses, financial statements, balance sheets, and other financial data may be included. Instead, new enterprises will include targets and projections for the first several years of operation, as well as any potential investors.
Every good business should have a budget in place. This comprises expenses such as staffing, development, manufacturing, marketing, and any other business-related expenses.
Types of business plan
There are two types of business plans:
- Lean start-up
Traditional business plan
The traditional business plan is the most popular, according to the Small Business Association. They have standards, but each area has a lot more information. These are usually substantially longer and demand a great deal of more effort.
Lean start-up business plan
Lean start-up business plans, on the other hand, have an abbreviated structure with crucial parts highlighted. These business plans are not as frequent in the business sector because they are brief, as brief as a one-page, and lack details. If a company uses this type of plan, it should anticipate being asked for further information by an investor or lender.
How to write a good business plan?
While writing a business plan, one should avoid these common mistakes to write a good business plan:
- A business plan reflects one’s company, and a badly written business plan can provide the wrong impression. To ensure that the document is free of errors, one must thoroughly review it.
- The plan’s presentation is inconsistent and lacking in structure. The presentation of overview reflects one’s company, and the following mistakes will give the reader an unfavourable impression: irregular margins, missing page numbers, incomplete charts and tables without titles, or a missing table of contents.
- The plan is not finished. One can use a range of various standards and templates as the foundation for one’s business plan, and they will help establish a basic structure.
- The strategy is too hazy. Specific information should always be included in the plan.
- The plan is extremely detailed. The following is a good foundation for a plan: Begin with a one to two-page executive summary, followed by a 10-15 pages through business plan; this should be followed by a detailed appendix with additional information.
- The assumptions used in the business plan are implausible. Those assumptions that are critical should be mentioned, and their inclusion should be justified. Many bad company strategies try to hide assumptions all over the place. It is critical to validate any assumptions one makes against accepted benchmarks.
- There is not enough research in the business plan. A complete business plan should include specific facts, charts, and statistics to support any assumptions or projections made throughout the process.
- You make claims implying that your new venture is completely risk-free. Realistically, there is always some element of danger; nevertheless, communicating this effectively is critical. There will always be downsides. Understanding your company’s risks and giving a logical argument for how you will reduce or minimise them should be a key component of your business plan.
One should end up with a well-structured and logical strategy if he or she avoids these mistakes and follow the recommendations given when creating a business plan. One can, however, take a few more steps to ensure the development of a strong plan. Other business owners, possible investors and lenders, as well as other professional specialists, should all be considered.
A number of consultants who specialise in developing business plans can be found. It is a toss-up between the cost of generating the business plan and the time it will take to complete it to the same standards.
Sample of a business plan
A good business plan will take you through each stage of beginning and running a company. Your business plan will serve as a road map for how to establish, run, and grow your new company. It is a method of considering the most important aspects of your company.
Company plans can assist you in obtaining funds and attracting new business partners. Investors want to know they will get a good return on their money. Your business plan will be the instrument you use to persuade others that working with you, or investing in your company, is a good investment.
Pick a business plan format that works for you
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business plan. What matters is that your plan fits your requirements. The majority of business plans are classified as either traditional or lean start-ups.
If you are particularly detail-oriented, want a complete plan, or plan to seek funding from traditional sources, you might prefer a typical business plan structure.
You do not have to follow the identical business plan outline when writing your business plan. Instead, focus on the portions that are most relevant to your business and needs. These nine sections are used in some combination:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organisation and management
- Service or product line
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
- Financial projections
If you want to explain or start your company quickly, your business is reasonably straightforward, or you want to alter and refine your business plan on a regular basis, you might prefer the lean startup style.
Lean startup formats are diagrams that summarise your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and money using only a few pieces. They are helpful for illustrating tradeoffs and basic corporate information.
A lean startup template can be created in a variety of ways. You may obtain free business plan templates by searching the internet. Here are the nine elements of a lean start-up business plan:
- Key partnerships
- Key activities
- Key resources
- Value proposition
- Customer relationships
- Customer segments
- Cost structure
- Revenue streams
How do I write a simple business plan?
To create a simple business plan tailored to your company, you must first determine which resources are accessible to you and in what quantities.
First and foremost, time and money are two extremely valuable commodities that should be thoroughly explored. You must know how much time you can devote to your business each day, and more significantly, how much work you can put up with on a regular basis.
Furthermore, knowing how much money you can spend each day or month to support your organisation’s growth is essential for creating a basic business plan that will work for you.
Knowing what has to be done and what you want to do yourself can help you make the necessary changes to your strategy. Sometimes there are activities that require specialised personnel, which will cost you money, so make sure you have enough to spend on necessary personnel and equipment.
One can create his or her customised and basic business plan and one specifies all of the resources on a piece of paper. The steps listed below are the most widely-employed and have been shown to be quite effective when thoroughly researched:
- A clear vision of your business
- Having a mission
- Important objectives
- An estimated budget
- Monthly income estimation
- An action plan
Advantages of a business plan
Failure is a common idea in the minds of most business owners and investors. The best way to avoid this failure is to address the most common causes of business failure. The world is currently dealing with economic concerns such as global economic collapse, high commodity prices, a high rate of foreclosure and difficulty obtaining credit from banks, strong competition, confusing tax rules, and high operational costs, to name a few. All of these challenges today’s businesses face make it even more difficult for new businesses to survive. Small and large organisations alike have realised the importance of evaluating their businesses potentials and developing future strategies in today’s society.
Planning is an essential component of every business’s success. Nowadays, developing a business plan is not a need, but an essential condition for starting a business. Every business, from large corporations to small businesses, requires a plan.
Creating a business plan will help in the development of a framework that will propel one’s company to its intended destination.
The business plan helps in the development of work guidelines, the mapping out of strategies, the understanding of one’s target market, the measurement of performance, the monitoring of progress, the formulation of future plans, and the raising of additional capital for expansion or to boost operations.
The following are the main benefits of a good business plan:
A business plan can help one make decisions about important parts of one’s company including capital investments, leasing, and resourcing. One won’t be able to do everything. A strong business plan can assist one in determining the most important business priorities and milestones to concentrate on.
Develop a marketing strategy
Marketing is an important aspect of a business plan. It helps in the identification of one’s target market, target customers, and the promotion and positioning of one’s product, service in these markets, and customers.
Support for funding
A business plan that answers questions about profitability and income generation is generally required, whether one is seeking loans from a bank or capital from investors.
Helps to secure talent
Attracting competent employees and partners is critical to a company’s success. A business plan gives one’s company structure and sets the management goals. It becomes a go-to resource for keeping the company on track with sales goals and operational milestones. It can help one measure and manage the primary areas of attention if used correctly and used on a frequent basis.
Your company’s calling card is your business plan. It allows you to see your company from the perspective of your investor. It is, as the name implies, a business plan; a communication tool for selling your marketing, sales, and operations. Make use of your business plan to explain your business concept to others. You should concentrate on what you want to accomplish, where you want your company to go, and how you want to get there.