At it's core, a business plan is just a plan for how your business is going to work, and how you’re going to make it succeed. Without a business plan, you may waste time on tasks that bring little or no added value to your bottom line.
Still you might ask ... “How can I actually use my business plan?”
Once you have one, it's straightforward. A business plan has three basic purposes: Communication, Management, and Planning.
• Communication: As a communication tool, your business plan will be used to attract investment capital, secure loans and assist in attracting strategic business partners. In other words, your business plan communicates whether or not your business has the potential to make a profit.
As a management tool, your business plan helps you track, monitor and evaluate your progress against your milestones.
As a planning tool, your business plan will guide you through the various phases of your business. The more comprehensive, the better your plan will be able to help you identify roadblocks and obstacles that you'll need to avoid.
Before you create a business plan, you'll first need to determine the PURPOSE of the plan. If you’re seeking financing for your business, but your plan doesn't have your sales projections that potential lenders or investors can use to make a decision about giving you a loan, you’ll need an entirely different business plan - or you will have to make major adjustments to the one you have.
It’s essential that you know the purpose of your business plan, as your answer will shape how you develop it.
Yes. Writing a comprehensive business plan can be a daunting task. Most businesses don't know where they'll be in one month’s time, let alone five years. Even the most well-thought-out business plans are just words until they're implemented.
Before you implement, be sure your business plan contains a clear outline of the following:
• Your Business Proposition:
What's your product/service? Who are your clients? Who is your competition? How are you going to sell your product or service?
• Your Management Team:
Who are the directors, key personnel and any strategic partners you may have?
How are you going to promote (marketing, market research, and pricing etc.) your product or service?
Who do you need to employ and what is your organisational structure?
What infrastructure do you need ... IT, website, telecoms etc.?
Information about your profit and loss forecasts, cash flow, finance needed, and investment opportunities.
The more efficient your business plan, the better you'll be able to implement it and survive the early stages of your business.
Using our Business Plan Workbook is the best way to develop an effective business plan at your own pace. Check it out here!