A business plan is a written depiction of the future of your business. That’s all there is to it—a paper outlining what you want to achieve and how you intend to do it. You’ve created a plan, or at least the germ of a plan if you scribble a paragraph on the back of an envelope detailing your business strategy. Business plans may assist individuals who create and read them in completing a variety of responsibilities. They are used by entrepreneurs seeking financing to communicate their vision to potential investors. Firms may also use them to attract important personnel, prospect for new business, engage with suppliers, or just understand how to better run their businesses.
So, what exactly is a business plan, and how do you create one? Simply put, a business plan communicates your business goals, the strategies you’ll use to achieve them, potential problems that may confront your business and solutions to them, the organizational structure of your business (including titles and responsibilities), and finally, the amount of capital required to finance your venture and keep it running until it breaks even.
Major Components of Business Plan
The first is the business idea, in which you describe the industry, your business structure, your specific product or service, and how you intend to make your company successful.
The second component is the marketplace, where you define and evaluate potential customers: who and where they are, what motivates them to buy, and so forth. You also discuss the competition and how you plan to beat it in this section.
Finally, the financial part includes your income and cash flow statement, balance sheet, and other financial statistics such as break-even analysis. This may necessitate the assistance of your accountant and a decent spreadsheet software package.
Components of Business Plan
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Market strategies
- Competitive analysis
- Design and development plan
- Operations and management plan
- Financial factors
Who Needs a Business Plan?
Startups- The typical business plan writer is an entrepreneur looking for funding to help launch a new enterprise. Many, many successful firms had their start on paper, in the form of a business plan that was used to persuade investors to put up the cash required to get them off the ground.
Well-established firms are looking for assistance. Not all company plans are created by zealous entrepreneurs. Many are published by and for firms that have progressed far beyond the startup stage. Walker Group/Designs, for example, was already well-established as a designer of stores for major retailers when founder Ken Walker came up with the idea of trademarking and licensing the symbols 01-01-00 to apparel manufacturers and others as a sort of numeric shorthand for the approaching millennium.
These middle-stage businesses, like startups, may develop strategies to assist them secure capital for development, but the quantities sought may be higher and the investors more willing. They may feel the need for a documented strategy to aid in the management of an already fast-expanding firm. Alternatively, a plan may be viewed as a helpful instrument for communicating the mission and prospects of the firm to customers, suppliers, or others.
Types of Business Plan
Business plans can be divided roughly into four separate types
A Mini plan can be one to ten pages long and should involve at least cursory attention to essential issues such as financing requirements, marketing plan, and financial statements, particularly cash flow, income forecast, business idea, and balance sheet. It’s an excellent method to rapidly put a company idea to the test or gauge the enthusiasm of a possible partner or modest investment. It can also be a useful precursor to a full-fledged strategy later on.
A Working Plan is a tool for running your business. It must be detailed but maybe brief in presentation. When developing a working plan, you can generally afford a little more honesty and informality than you can with a mini-plan.
The Presentation Plan- If you take a functioning plan, with its low emphasis on aesthetics and impression, and turn the knob to increase the amount of attention paid to its appearance, you’ll get a presentation plan. This strategy is appropriate for presenting to bankers, investors, and anyone outside of the firm.
The Electronic Plan– most business plans are written on a computer, then printed and presented in physical copy. However, more and more business information that was formerly transmitted solely on paper is now transmitted electronically. As a result, you may find it useful to have an electronic version of your strategy on hand. An electronic plan can be useful for making presentations to a group utilizing a computer-driven overhead projector, or for fulfilling the needs of a discriminating investor who wants to dig deeply into the underpinnings of complicated spreadsheets.