How to write a successful business plan?
“A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved. It also describes the nature of the business, background information on the organization, the organization’s financial projections, and the strategies it intends to implement to achieve the stated targets. In its entirety, this document serves as a road map that provides direction to the business.”-(“Business Plan Definition – Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia”. Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2018-10-29.)
Foremost, you need a business plan to outline everything that concerns your business; it will serve as a guide when running the business; it will help you execute your strategies easily and swiftly. Your business plan should convince you that your business ideas are worth it and have the potential of becoming a success. Once you have a business plan, you would know what to do when your business is off the ground and in the market.
The question is, who needs your business plan? The reason for writing it and who needs to view it will determine what to write. These are the factors that affect writing your business plan.
Your Business Partners:
Your business plan should convince your partners and whoever wants to invest in the business or lend any financial support; it should convince them it is a profitable venture, and they are likely to make a good profit from investing in your business.
Your future employees need to share the same vision with the business. They should know what they are becoming a part of. If they share the dreams and aspirations of the business, they would be eager to see its success, and put effort into bringing them to pass.
When you consider those factors, you could write out a successful business plan targeted at a particular audience. Keeping those factors in mind, your business plan should comprise the following –
· Executive summary
· Company description, overview and objectives
· Organization and management
· Products and services
· Target market and market opportunities
· Marketing and sales plan
· Competitive analysis
· Financial plans, projections, and analysis
The executive summary is the first phase of your business plan. Your executive summary should give an overview about what to expect from your business. It details what your business is all about–your purpose, your current state, your vision for the company, your mission statement, important information about the company, your products or services, target market and marketing strategies, company description, marketing and sales plan, competitive analysis, and financial analysis. Keep it brief, because you would explain them in details later.
Company Description, Overview, and Objectives
This is your company’s overview; you need to provide thorough information about your company, but keep it short. Explain the services your company plans to render, or the product you plan to sell. Showcase your company’s strengths and advantages- (according to wikidiff.com; the difference between strength and advantage is that strength is the quality or degree of being strong while advantage is any condition, circumstance, opportunity or means, particularly favorable to success, or to any desired end.) Describe what your business does, explain the nature of your business (where it fits in the business market and what purpose it is serving), then describe the legal structure of your business.
Organization and management
Explain your business’ organization and management; tell who is in charge of different areas of the business; explain where prospective partners and investors would fit in and the roles they would play in the business (explain how much they own in the business). Tell the skills, experiences, and resources your management team has, and explain how your management team’s industry experience (if they have one) would affect your business.
Products and Services
Describe your products and services–what you sell and what it specifically does. What makes it unique, how is it different from other products in the market, and how would it serve customers? Explain the source of your products or services. Explain its properties; What it is made of.
Target Market and Market Opportunities
Who is your target market, and what market opportunities do you have in your business industry? Who can benefit from your products or services, and who do you plan to sell to? Are your products meant for male or female? Children, Adults, or the aged? Students or the working class? You would answer all these questions in this section. When you have a target market, it would make your products unique and peculiar to its market. Also, it would make it easier to advertise and sell your products.
Marketing and Sales Plan
Explain the marketing plans and strategies you will put in place to advertise your products or services, and the plans and strategies you would use to sell them. How would you position your business for it to attract customers to you? List the steps you would take to advertise your business, and how you would do it differently to convince prospective customers that they are making the right choice by patronizing you? (Consider the marketing strategies your competitors used to advertise their products and services, and come up with a way to advertise yours so it would stand out). Let customers know the benefits of getting your products and services, and the solutions it would bring. Describe how your sales department would look like, and the amount of hands you would need there. Explain your selling strategy–how you plan to sell your products. Use a smart strategy that won’t just attract customers but also keep them.
Analyze potential competitors in the business industry; doing this is important because it is crucial to your own business’ growth. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your competition–check out their products or services, price range, business objectives, marketing strategies, what is their target market?, find out how they promote their services, and look for opportunities you can take advantage of.
Financial Plans, Projections, and Analysis
Let your readers know the state of your business financially; if it is financially stable and if it would succeed financially. Explain your financial status – source of income, what would serve as collateral in case you need to get a loan, funding requests if any (the funds you would need now and the future, also the purpose for the funds), capital, business assets, etc. Project what would be your financial status in the future; you can do this by researching about the cash flow in your business industry (what you hope to profit from it).
The final phase of your business plan is to add an appendix. This can be additional information that you haven’t included before, legal company documents, or licenses.
If you follow the guide I have given above, you could write a successful business plan.