When you are first setting up a business, understanding exactly what you are setting out to achieve can be a daunting task. But a business plan takes some of that stress away by helping to cement your business idea into achievable goals. It can be as simple as dot pointing your strategy on the back of an envelope, or a 30-page report of what your business is hoping to achieve.
However, a formal business plan should consist of specific information that you can present to investors (or a bank, or just your spouse) as an indication of how your business will succeed.
What is the point of the business? In this section, try to outline your plan succinctly. You should discuss the industry that your business will be operating within, what structure your business will take, the particular product or service
What goals do you have for your business? When and how will you reach your goals? Do you have a clear set of steps that you need to take to implement your strategy into being?
What’s the competitive advantage of your product over the others in your field? Are you a solicitor who specialises in family law? Do you sell vintage merchandise for Aussie Rules football teams?
What niche does your business fulfil that your customers need? Provide solid information about your product to your readers, and explain the reasoning behind why your customers will want to purchase your product, and not those of your competitors.
Who are your target customers? What demographics do your customers primarily lie in? How will you attract and retain enough customers to make a profit? What methods will you use to capture your audience? What sets your business apart from the competition?
Answering these questions will assist you in planning out your marketing strategy, and demonstrate to your investors that you understand how you will be targeting your customers.
These will be based on your projected financial statements. These statements provide a model of how your ideas about the company, its markets and its strategies will play out.
Obviously, a report that outlines your business plan is probably preferable to a scrap of an envelope, but the main point to this is working through the business idea in a written form that you can take to your business strategists to formulate a more comprehensive and viable business plan that aligns with your goals.
As you write your business plan, stick to facts instead of feelings, projections instead of hopes, and realistic expectations of profit instead of unrealistic dreams of wealth. Facts—checkable, demonstrable facts—will invest your plan with the most important component of all: credibility.
It’s time to start writing that business plan if:
If you’re looking for assistance with planning for your business’s future, you can come speak with us.