You might want to write a business plan for several reasons. You could be an entrepreneur trying to get access to funding from investors, or you could be a businessperson looking to identify the potential roadblocks to your company’s growth. While your reasons for drafting a business plan might differ, the plan that you do draft will resemble every other business plan before yours. A business plan is basically a document that describes your business, its product/service offerings, the stakeholders involved and details its goals and plans for expansion.
Things to Consider Before Writing a Business Plan
Before you start writing your business plan, there are a handful of things you will need to consider first.
- What’s Your Goal? – Narrow down the goal of your business plan to make it more effective. If you want your business plan to inspire sponsors to come on board and fund your business, clearly list your mode of doing business, how you handle your finances and so on.
- Write for Your Audience – Knowing your audience before you begin drafting your business plan can help you create this business plan better. And avoid industry jargon. Try to use easily accessible language when developing your business plan.
- Research Your Market – While the biggest part of your business plan focuses on your company vision and goals, you will need to conduct thorough research for other sections so you can provide detailed information such as market demand, company viability and so on. This needs to be custom-written for your industry. A record label business plan, for instance, must state the size and trends affecting the record label business, identify and record the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, and identify the industry’s key customer segments.
- Don’t ramble – Keep your business plan as concise as possible. Nobody has the time to go through a lengthy document anymore. It is also a good idea to have a single person draft this document, so you can maintain consistency of tone and style.
What to Include in Your Business Plan
Be sure to include the following sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary – A quick overview of your business
- Company Overview – A description of your company’s product and service offerings.
- Market Analysis – The current market scenario of the market your company will function in, and information about your competitors.
- Organizational Structure – The management structure of your company.
- Service/Product Information – Information discussing your product/service offerings.
- Marketing Plan – How you intend to go about marketing your business.
- Financial projection – An estimate of the highs that you intend for your business to achieve within a set time period.
- Appendix – You could include the legal permits you’ve obtained to legalize your business and resumes of your primary employees here.
Your business plan may or may not contain an appeal for funding, which should detail how you’d use the money.
Having a business plan handy can help you organize and run your business efficiently. It gives you a blueprint to refer to, every time you find yourself conflicted about the path your business is taking. It helps you gain cognizance of this, and steer your business effort back to the path you’d originally intended for it to follow. So, if you don’t have a business plan in place yet, know that it’s better late than never.