business plan writing
A plan is a statement of intent, the purpose of which is to organize resources in order to achieve a desired outcome. A business plan is a blueprint of the company; a written summary of the company's mission and goals and the means that would be employed to achieve these goals. A good business plan gives a well documented and logical outline of the company presented in a standard business format. Without a written business plan in hand, Lenders won't even consider your request for a loan. Preparing a business plan forces entrepreneurs to consider every aspect of their company's operations -- from inventory requirements to how many employees they'll need to hire.
Writing a business plan for your business is key in getting your new venture off on the right foot and is a tool which will chart the course of the company and it should include the following information:
1. Purpose of the business.
2. Description of the management team.
3. A description of the products or services.
4. An analysis of the market and competition (including customers, suppliers, opportunities and threat).
5. A detailed descriptions of the strategies that will be employed to make the business work.
6. A financial analysis (including sources and types of finances required).
7. Operating costs.
8. Sales and cash flow projections.
The success of business depends on the decisions made. Anybody whether starting a new business, running or buying an already established business, looking for funds or just wanting to communicate with the management team, customers, suppliers or others needs a business plan. A business plan is the best means to ensure continuing success and optimal growth. A business plan should have the following functions:
1. A vision statement of the company helping to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
2. A vital communication tool.
3. A tool for obtaining finance.
4. An operating tool for planning, managing, assessing and enhancing the functioning of the business continuously.
5. A source for sound decision-making.
Just as no two businesses are similar, no two business plans are similar. It is vital to customize a plan's content to suit individual requirements as certain issues in a plan maybe more pertinent to some businesses. Nevertheless, a business plan contains the following key components:
1. Title page.
2. Executive summary.
3. Table of contents.
4. Mission statement.
5. Description of the business and industry.
6. Product / service, market analysis and marketing Plan.
8. Management team and Operations plan.
9. Financial plan.
10. Critical risks.
11. Exit strategy.
Tips for writing a business plan
1. Get to know who would be reading the business plan. The plan should be tailored based of types of people who are going to read it.
2. Keep the language simple, precise and easy to read and understand.
3. Highlight the significant parts of the plan in introductory summary or the executive summary section.
4. Make sure the focus is on the market and the market projections are realistic and make sure the market is clearly defined with a clear picture of potential customers.
5. Do not overlook competition even if there is no at present.
6. Highlight the company's distinctiveness whether it is in the form of copyrights, patents or any other feature that gives the business a competitive edge.
7. Highlight the management's strengths and specify their credibility.
8. Use business plan templates if available.
In conclusion, entrepreneurs do not need a business plan to succeed. But a business plan is a simple and useful tool for collecting your thoughts, prioritizing your actions, and planning for your business' success. Also keep in mind that a business plan is there to help and should not get in the way of moving forward with your business.
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