What is a Business Plan?
You can pretty much define a business plan as a resume for your business idea in mind. Some may say it’s like your company’s calling card. When you need money to start your business, or when you need an office space, your business plan is what will do most of the talking to convince your investors / lenders or property managers to believe in your business and give you what you need.
Why is it important to have a Business Plan?
The time that you spend on writing a solid business plan will pay for itself in corporate strategic and tactical clarity as your business grows. A solid business plan: (not in particular order)
- Allows you to describe your vision / concept in writing, helping your potential investors to understand and believe in you; it serves as a basis for discussion with third parties such as shareholders, agencies, banks, investors…etc.
- Allows you to identify the structure of your business, giving you the chance to focus on the big picture. Your business plan is the “framework” which your business must operate within. A solid business plan provides a considered and logical framework within which a business can develop and grow with business strategies in the long run (not for just short-term growth).
- Determines the startup and managing costs.
- Clearly defines your target audience and provides detailed research on your target market.
- Identifies potential opportunities and obstacles that the business may encounter down the road.
- Identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your business and your competitors.
No businesses are the same, and no business plans are the same. Your business plan is like your business blueprint; it should be unique. While it is important to be able to illustrate your business concept well enough for others to understand what you hope to be doing, the business plan is essential for your own use. It is about the process of developing the business plan; the process helps you to focus on exactly what you are trying to achieve. It will give you a lot more clear vision of the entire structure of your business as you develop your business plan through detailed research and planning.
A business plan consists of the following parts:
- Briefly describes the business concept
- Highlights the important financial points of the business such as sales, profits, cash flows, ROI
- Clearly states the capital needed to start the business and to expand
- States legal information about the business, the owners and key personnel.
- Describes the business structure on how it operates / profits
- Describes the nature of industry in which the business plans to operate
- Identifies the business’ current position and future possibilities
- Defines the target market
- Defines the strategies the business plans to use in order to tap into the target market
- Describes the pricing of products or services with respect to the demand of the target market
- Describes the competitors in your target market and how you plan to obtain your share of the market
- Analyzes your competitors in the following categories: product, distribution, pricing, promotion, and advertising.
Design and Development Plan
- Describes the steps the business will take to carry out its plan with scheduling and cost analysis.
- Identifies the risks during the development period
Operations and Management Plan
- Describes the strategies the business will implement in order to operate and grow effectively
- Defines all the financial aspects of a business.