Preparing a Business Plan
Your business plan is your ultimate decision-making tool. Without it, you are more likely to struggle to achieve your goals. A clear and concise business plan is your way to show your staff, your investors, and your bank that you know what you are doing. Anyone you approach for money will expect to see your business plan and without it, you won’t be getting any money because everyone knows that investing in a rudderless business is simply too risky. That’s why you must take certain things into consideration to make sure your business plan is effective.
Following are some tips that will help you when preparing a business plan:
1. Be Clear on What You Want to Achieve
Ask yourself what you want to achieve and what your company stands for. Think of everything you would want a potential employee, customer, partner, or investor to know about it. This include the following:
- Vision Statement: Create a short and aspirational vision statement. It should be realistic. You should take your time to get it right.
- Unique Selling Proposition: This includes the reasons why you believe that the customers will come to you instead of your competitors.
- Target Market Identification: Although you would want to expand your customer base as much as possible, it pays to have a clear picture of the target market as it will make it easier for you to communicate with them.
- Explanation of Products/Services: Make sure the explanation is in line with your Unique Selling Proposition and meets the needs of your target market.
- Goals: List your goals. They should be measurable, realistic, and consistent with your financial plan.
2. Set Out the Details
The next step is to see how your vision will work. Specify what your business structure is and who will help you bring your vision to life. Following are some others things you should include:
- Structure and History: Outlines the background of your business and introduce key people like managers, employees, investors, and partners.
- Analysis of Competitors: Do a complete analysis of the competitive landscape, including information on the characteristics and size of the target market, industry, as well as your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Business Assets: Identify what you have as well as what you need, including plant and equipment, premises, intellectual property, information systems, insurance and licenses.
- SWOT Analysis: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your idea along with potential opportunities and threats.
- Goals and Milestones: Set out your key business goals for the period covered by the plan along with different milestones you want to reach. Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable.
- Financial Forecasts: List your capital requirements and start-up costs as well as your projected cash flow, loss and profit, break-even analysis, and balance sheet forecasts.
- Business Strategies: These should include sales, marketing, and customer retention strategies.
We recommend that you use Stats NZ’s Data for Business website in order to find useful business statistics and tools.
3. Keep it Short and Easy to Understand
When writing a business plan, make sure to keep it realistic, short, and easy to understand. It is important to consider that someone reading your business plan in the future might not be familiar with jargon or more technical terms. That’s why we recommend you write the business plan in plain English. It is also recommended that you do your research and provide evidence to support your conclusions (if possible) and include an action plan.
4. Review and Make Necessary Changes
After the above steps, you are finally ready to review your work and finalize the summary. Carefully review the business plan and make sure it presents a compelling and cohesive picture of your business in a professional format. After that, take the most important component of each section and use them to create an engaging executive summary. Your goal here is to create the summary that draws the reader into the rest of your business plan.
5. Put the Plan to Work
Once your business plan is ready, treat it as a guide to running your business. Keep in mind that business plans are dynamic documents which means that you should adjust your business plan as your business develops. If the circumstances and goals change, update the plan. The Stats NZ website has some great tools and information to get your business started.
As always, Spinach believe in business, and we are inspired by goals of growth. We want to be part of your success. To get us on board, please call us on 0800 SPINACH (0800 774 622) or email us firstname.lastname@example.org