Stages of Business Plan Creation
Creating a business plan is a multi-stage process, the result of which is a multi-faceted document generally built with the twin goals of proving the logic of funding the business and planning what the business will do to succeed. Following these steps will guide you towards creating a plan that works for external funders and your internal management team:
Brainstorm Concepts: Begin by generating additional ideas around your initial basic concept. Come up with list of alternative strategies, variations on the theme, and methods for implementation.
Define What Business You Are In: Make sure you can define what your business will do succinctly, in a short mission statement. Although work and research to come will continue to alter this definition, it is important that it guide you at this point.
Study Feasibility: Do an initial look at the market feasibility of the business (Is there a market for your product or service? Can it win against competitors?), its financial feasibility (Will it be able to produce, market, and deliver the needed product or service at a profit? Will startup costs be beyond what you can afford?), and personal feasibility (Will the business use your talents? Is there a place for you as a manager of this company?).
Create a Business Strategy: Solidify the basic business strategy of what product or service you will sell to what customers through what means.
Market Research: Study the market or markets you may sell the product to, looking at customers, competitors, and industry practices and trends.
Create a Marketing Strategy: Decide on the marketing tactics, including promotion, pricing, branding, and distribution, which will work best based on your strategy and research.
Structure the Company: Choose a legal structure and organizational structure that will work for you and the opportunity. This includes identifying key additional managers for your team and assigning responsibilities and reporting relationships.
Create Financial Projections: Based on your research and your initial feasibility study, spin out your financial numbers into full pro forma financial statements and a projection summary.
Show Your Qualifications: Present the qualifications you and your management team have that make you good choices to launch and run this business.
Finalize the Plan: Complete your plan in document form with graphics, formatting, and proofreading, and also produce a slide deck to go along with the plan for presentations.