The need for a business plan in every business cannot be overemphasized and no startup does well without a business plan. Whether you’re starting or growing your new business, writing a business plan is a must for the growth of that business. Your Business plan will provide the roadmap to achieve the success you want. The question here now shouldn’t be IF you write your plan, but how to write a business plan that will take your company to the level you want it to go.
Your business plan is simply your answer to the comprehensive list of questions. The first and most important question is this: where do you want your business to go? Stated differently, what do you want your business to look like in two, three, five or even 10 or more years? What level of income/revenues and profits do you have at that time? How many employees are employed? How many locations is the company operation on? And so on.
Generally, your business plan should be to answer these questions for a shorter period of time, particularly one year. That is, what are your business’ goals for the current year, and what must you accomplish to make the year a success for your business.
In answering and to answer these business planning questions, you naturally have to answer questions pertaining to each of the core business plan sections as follows:
- Company Analysis: Your Company has a product or service to offer to the public now right? What are they and/or what will you develop and offer in the future for the growth and betterment of the company
- Industry Analysis: what is the size of your market? How big is your target market and how are they changing with time? What are currently and what will be the future trends are affecting them and do these trends bode well for your business in the future?
- Competitive Analysis: who are your industry based competitors and what are each of their key strengths and weaknesses? In what areas of this do you have or gain a competitive advantage? And How are you going to do that?
- Customer Analysis: who are your perfect and target customers? What are their demographic ( age, race, level of education, sex, economic status, among others) and/or psychographic profiles? What are their needs? Can and are they ready, willing, and want your product?
- Marketing Plan: What are the ways and how will you reach your target customers? What promotional tactics, logistics, and marketing channels will you employ in your business? How will you place price tags for your products or services? What is the brand positioning you desire for each?
- Management Team: who and who comprises your current team for the best development of your business and what key hires must you make in order to execute on the business opportunity in front of you. Are you going to build a Board of Advisors or Directors for your company? If so, who will you seek and why?
- Company Operation Plan: what is the proposed company your action plan? What are the areas and milestone you must accomplish to go from the current position your company/business is now to where you want it to be at year’s end? At the end of five years or more?
- Financial Plan: how much external funding (if applicable) do you need to build your company? In what areas will these funds be invested and how are these areas rated according to their order of importance? What are your projected income/revenues and profits over the next one to five years of your company existence? What assets must you acquire to make your company stand?
Giving the right Answers to the questions in these eight principal business plan sections helps you come up with specific business goals. They also help you with the best answers of the most important question to add or include when you write the Executive Summary of your business plan for your proposed business, which is this: why is your business uniquely qualified to succeed after start up?
Now you know that there are so many reasons why your business might be uniquely qualified to succeed after launch. For instance, it could be the standard, high or the quality of your management team. Or the unique technology you’ve adopted or the partnerships you created during the company set up stage or after launch. But importantly, if your Business plan have no unique qualifications to succeed, it will be very easy for your industry competitors to steal your clients or customers, market share at any time, or at worst beat you hand down in business.
So, if all you’re thinking right now is about how to write a perfect business plan, sit down and start answering the outlined questions above. It’s the thinking, crafting and strategizing part of biz plan which is actually more important than the writing part.
Sure, if you want others, investors, sponsors, etc to read and/or fund your business, your plan has to read perfectly well and be put in the right and proper format. But it’s the content in the business plan that matters most, your strategy and whole reasons why you’ll succeed depends if you have a good business plan that will prompt partnership, investor, etc to invest or otherwise join you in your conquest to build a brand new thriving business!