Simply stated, a business plan is a guide that conveys your business goals (both long-term and short-term), the business strategies you’ll use to achieve them, the problems and competition that you’ll face and the ways to solve and overcome them, the people you’ll involve in your business, the organisational structure, the marketing and the positioning strategies, and the amount of funds you’ll require for the same. There are no exceptions to the type or an age of the business and unlike what many people say, business plans are not limited to startups.
Even if you’re running a 20 years old business, it’s not late to write a business plan and dedicate your resources to your ultimate business goal.
For example, although the executive summary comes as the first business plan section, I recommend writing it after everything else is done, so you know exactly what appears in the rest of your business plan.
Likewise, although the management summary is usually presented toward the end of a finished business plan, it might be an easy place to start writing.
While many first-time entrepreneurs consider a business plan to be similar to what a preamble is to a constitution, but there’s a big difference.
A business plan isn’t just an introduction of what the business is about.Full-length resumes should be appended to the plan.Click here to subscribe to The Bcast on i Tunes » 1.1 Problem 1.2 Solution 1.3 Market 1.4 Competition 1.5 Financial Highlights 2.1 Problem Worth Solving 2.2 Our Solution 2.3 Validation of Problem and Solution 2.4 Roadmap/Future Plans 3.1 Market Segmentation 3.2 Target Market Segment Strategy 3.2.1 Market Needs 3.2.2 Market Trends 3.2.3 Market Growth 3.3 Key Customers 3.4 Future Markets 3.5 Competition 3.5.1 Competitors and Alternatives 3.5.2 Our Advantages (see an example) 4.1 Marketing Plan 4.2 Sales Plan 4.3 Location and Facilities 4.4 Technology 4.5 Equipment and Tools 4.6 Milestones 4.7 Key Metrics 5.1 Organizational Structure 5.2 Management Team 5.3 Management Team Gaps 5.4 Personnel Plan 5.5 Company History and Ownership 6.1 Revenue/Sales Forecast 6.2 Expenses 6.3 Projected Profit and Loss 6.4 Projected Cash Flow 6.5 Projected Balance Sheet 6.7 Business Ratios While every business owner should have an ongoing planning process to help them run their business, not every business owner needs a complete, formal business plan suitable for submitting to a potential investor, or bank, or venture capital contest.It should contain all the key information about your startup from what your product is about to how much money you require to build it.Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. All too often, what the business owner desires is buried on page eight.It isn’t just stating your goals and the means to achieve them but stating how your business is going to work as a whole.A business plan is an important aspect of the startup process and should be crafted carefully before preparing your pitch deck and putting yourself in front of the investors.You’ll want to cover the technology you plan on using, your business location and other facilities, special equipment you might need, and your roadmap for getting your business up and running.Finally, you’ll want to outline the key metrics you’ll be tracking to make sure your business is headed in the right direction.Your business plan should present what a banker or venture capitalist expects to see, in the order they expect to see it in.Following a standard business plan outline will keep you on track, and save you from botching your best chance at getting your business funded.