If you are going to start a business you need to create a business plan of some sort. You need to plan your business whether it is a small home based business, online or offline, or a new business with big aspirations. But you may not need a formal written business plan. Some of the best businesses have evolved from a plan scribbled on a paper napkin or a drinks coaster.
However if you need to get finance for the business a strong business plan is a good idea. You may decide to allow close family to look at your business plan If they need reassurance that you know what you are doing.
How do you create a business plan?
Start by downloading a business plan template that is appropriate to your country. Here are links to an Australian template or a US template. Although parts of the template may not apply to your business, it can provide a good starting point. You will find many business plan templates online.
Decide on your business plan’s objective. This will help you decide what type of information needs to be included. If you are using your business plan to raise capital then you will need to include financial information about your business.
Nine sections to include when creating a business plan
This is the first page of your business plan and it summarises the entire document. Importantly you will capture the attention of your target audience and convince them to keep reading, making it the most important part of your business plan.
Include information about your company’s industry, your competition, and your target market. Any conclusions you draw from your analysis of the market goes in this section.
In this section, give a detailed analysis of your business and how all parts of the company will work together to achieve the company’s objective.
Organization and Management
Information about the company’s organizational structure and top-level managers goes in this section. Of course that may be you name in all the positions to begin with. But when you create the structure you recognize what help you will need in the future.
Marketing and Sales Management
It is important for you and your investors to know how you will attract and keep customers. Provide a detailed marketing strategy in this section of the plan, including social media.
Service or Product: Create a business plan that anticipates growth.
Write about the products and services the company offers. You should emphasise the benefits of those products and services to potential customers, indicating how they are better than the competition.
This is the part of the business plan where you detail the amount of money you need and how it will be used to build your business. You may not need to complete this section if you are funding the business yourself.
In this section you should detail the amount of money you are expecting to make based on your analysis of the industry. If your business is already established you will need to provide historical data about your company’s performance. New companies will need to provide forecasts about their expected performance over the next five years.
Appendix: Supplementary Information To Include When Creating A Business Plan
This section is for supplementary information that may be given on an as-needed basis. Items that may go in this section include a credit report, resumes of key personnel, letters of reference, market studies, licenses and permits, contracts, and product pictures.
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