“There are dreamers and there are planners, the planners make their dreams come true – Edwin Louis Cole”.
Entrepreneurs starting a business dream of achieving success. Their dreams would remain a mere dream without a proper business plan. A business plan is a document that acts as guidance to help develop your business, translating your vision into concrete action. Writing down what you want
What goes into a business plan
A business plan is a detailed document that outlines your ideas and how you plan to put the ideas into practice. As mentioned above, the document is what investors or bankers’study to decide if your business idea is feasible. The plan, therefore, should be comprehensive. The following is a standard structure that you can follow:
- Cover page with title and table of contents
- Executive summary: This gives an overview of your entire plan in one or two pages.
- Company description: Here is where you need to talk about your company. Explain the type of company, brief background of promoters/owners, vision and goals of the company.
- Structure: You need to explain the proposed organization structure and how the company will be managed.
- Business model: The business model you are planning to follow to earn revenue can be explained.
- Product/Services: You need to write in details about the products and services you are offering. Describe what is unique about your product/services and how it will attract customers.
- Marketing and sales plan: You need to talk about how you will market the product/service and reach out to customers. Sales and revenue targets need to be clearly outlined.
- Financial plan: This is the most important section for investors. You need to clearly explain how much funds you need and how you are going to use the funds raised. You also need to explain how finances will be managed, expenses, profits, plan to repay loans, and expected returns for investors. Projections of profit and loss should be enclosed.
- Operational plan: You need to explain how regular operations will be carried out. If production is required, plan for production needs to be prepared.
- Annexures: Any documents relevant to the business commencement can be attached. This includes statutory and regulatory approvals, land documents, etc.
A detailed plan as per this structure can help you present your ideas in a structured way. This can help you get funds and be a basis to carry out your marketing, operations, and manage your finances.
How to write the plan
Now that you are clear with what the plan should have, here are some tips to keep in mind while writing the business plan.
1) Carry out proper research
This is the most important thing to do while preparing a business plan. You need to research everything related to your business. Understand the industry sector you are working in and the market trends before making the plan. Proper research will help you to prepare an accurate plan. You can talk to experts in this field and analyze competition before preparing the plan.
2) Write the summary at the end
Even though the summary is the first section of the plan, you should prepare it at the end. Once your plan is completely ready, then prepare the executive summary. It will help you make a perfect summary of your plan. Most potential investors decide based on what they read in the summary. If needed, get it written by a professional who is experienced in writing business plans.
3) Take your time to write the plan
Don’t hurry while writing a plan. If you have a meeting with investors coming up, start working on the plan many weeks ahead. Take your time to prepare the perfect plan. The content of the plan and the presentation are both important. Write a draft, review it, make changes, edit it and make a second draft. Repeat this process, as many times as necessary until you are completely satisfied.
4) Include a detailed profile
You need to include a detailed profile of your company and your own profile. The profile should have as many details as possible. The profile of all the promoters should be included. It should list out the qualification, experience, skills, and achievements. Both technical and business experience needs to be highlighted in the profile.
5) Don’t make a standard plan
You may need to present the plan to different people. You can customize the plan depending on who will be reading it. Bankers may need a different type of presentation that focuses on the financials. A venture capitalist is more concerned about your business model and your profile.
6) Be accurate and honest
When you present projections, make sure they are accurate. Be honest while presenting information. Investors are smart people and can detect projections that are bloated up to create a rosy picture.
7) Focus on customer creation
Customers are the key to a business. Your plan should focus on how you plan to create customers and how you will convince them to buy your products. Your plan to promote your product using both conventional methods and digital marketing should be highlighted.
8) Use ready templates
Ready templates are available on the internet. Search for them and use them to create a professional business plan. Ready worksheets to create business projections are available. All you need to do is fill in the data. This simplifies the process of writing a business plan.
A professional business plan is a recipe for your business success.Put in effort to create the perfect plan that can help you achieve your dreams.