“How to Write a Business Plan”
Do you have a written down, documented business plan in place? Every business can benefit from the preparation of a carefully written business plan. The purpose of the business plan is to:
1. Help you think through the venture and ensure you have considered all your options and anticipated any potential difficulties.
2. Convince lenders and investors that you are in control of the project and that their money will be safe with you.
3. Serve as an operating guide as you turn your idea into a viable business.
4. Furnish a standard against which to judge future business decisions and results.
The Business Plan Ingredients
Consider, what is the size of the business? A business plan of a small business will differ from a large corporation. What is the background to your business idea? The lenders and investors will want to understand your passion and see if you are qualified and educated to understand the market and actually carry out what you say you will in the plan.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers.
Bottom line is Cash is King. No investor, bank or private lender won’t give you anything unless your numbers add up. It is undoubtedly one of the most important sections of your plan! Even if you can fund your own start up, some clients, suppliers or shareholders might definitely want to view your financial documentation before doing business with you or entering into agreements. Robert Kiyosaki in his book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ explains how he would turn down hundreds of investment opportunities because the business owners were too focused on just one segment- a dancer who wants to open her ballet studio can be the best ballet dancer on earth, but if she doesn’t understand accounts and can’t speak the finance language the success rate is next to zero. They will also want to know about your exit strategy and funding requirements.
This brings out another important point; you have to evaluate your ambition clearly- what is going to be possible in reality when you start and what you ideally want to achieve often is not aligned closely straightaway- this is actually one of the massively great benefits of business coaching. Your coach will help you close the gap of where you are now and where you ideally want to take your business and will be clear and real with you about it. Fresh perspective can be so important when you get in a rut with everyday tasks of running a business!
Research and Apply!
Have you done your market research? Do you know who your competitors are? Local, regional, international? Have you assessed your business using a swot analysis? But don’t just research; you have to apply that information you obtain in specific terms to your business otherwise it’s just facts on a sheet. In your business plan back your points and arguments up with those facts rather than just sticking them in there!
You might know your business idea inside out but the way you have to write about it in your business plan is like you’re explaining it for someone who has no clue what your plan is, especially if your idea is new and unique to the world! Spend time creating an easy and clear way of explaining your business model because 9 times out of 10 you will have to summarise your business in a couple of sentences anyway, whether it’s networking events, or two minutes of an investors time-sell it like you mean it!
Top Things to Consider
Once Your Plan Is Written
Leave it. Not forever! Just for a few days so you can go back and have a fresh outlook on it afterwards, you may have thought it was perfect, but now you might see and think of enhancing it or updating it.
How is a Business Plan different to a Marketing Plan?
Often asked and misconstrued question! A business plan is an overall plan of the entire business agenda with the overall business predictions and calculations- a marketing plan comparably, is a segment of the business plan. The marketing plan will focus on HOW rather than WHAT. For example, the business plan might state that the business is predicted to achieve £150,000 in sales and the marketing plan will focus on how the business will create that amount via advertising, SEO, customer acquisition etc.
To find out more about effective Marketing Plan writing, tune in for our next blog article
If you are in need to an in depth analysis and help with your business plan, contact coach Pam who will sit down with you and walk you through the process with guidance and support.