Your business plan is vital to establish the structure of your business, its aims and objectives, strategies, products and staffing. It is used to plan and manage your business, apply for funding or show to potential investors. It has ten main parts and these are:
1. Cover and index
Sounds a little silly, but a great cover to your business plan will show the professionalism and care that has gone into its production. It is also the ideal place to include your company logo and contact details. If appropriate, include photos of your products.
Vitally you should also include your company name and number as well as your contact details such as address, website, social media accounts and email and phone number of your relevant director. You will surprised at the number of people that forget this feature.
To help potential investors to navigate around, the index must include all the points of the business plan with the corresponding page number. Make it as complete as possible so that the reader has a clear idea of what the document contains.
However producing the index also gives you, the writer a great planning tool to ensure that you include all the points and information you need to include.
2. Executive summary with the needs and objectives of your business
In the first part of the document you must make a descriptive summary of the idea that includes the following points:
• The opportunity in the market
• The product or service and its advantages
• The management team
• Financial summary the financing needs and expected profitability
By writing the executive summary first, your put all the information down that is in your head. You can always come back to it at the end of your wiring of the main body.
Remember, you need to capture the attention of investors in approximately two pages where you will summarise the most important points of the text. You must also take into account several things:
• Vitally you must define the need or problem that your business intends to solve.
• You need to define the fundamental objectives of the company.
• You need to tell the investor at what stage your company currently is. Whether you are pre-production, starting to expand or in profit for example.
3. Plan out your business
Here is the point where you get your scrap paper out.
• You must describe the mission of your business – that is what you hope to achieve. Then you need a list of actions that your company needs to get to this point.
• Next you need to work out how you will solve the business problems you have identified.
• Now describe what your product or service is, what customers will get with their purchase and what their weaknesses or inconveniences are.
• Discover what price point your potential customers will be comfortable with.
• Lastly you need to discover how you can find these customers.
Often this can all be defined by the use of a business model canvas and this is the subject of another of my articles. You can purchase consultancy to produce this model.
Usually there are already companies that are working for the same goals. Identify them and ask yourself: How am I going to differentiate myself from my competitors?