No business idea is a success. It always remains an idea. No idea can change or affect this world, positively or negatively. Almost everyone you have ever come across has an idea, very brilliant, world-changing idea. Nevertheless, the only problem with these ideas is that they never see the light of the day. They live with the person and die peacefully with the person.
A plan is what separates a person with an idea from the man who changes the world. A business plan makes you understand the idea you have and helps to evaluate if it is as great as you imagined. It removes the fictional and dreamlike characteristics, replacing it with reality and the harsh facts in existence
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is very crucial for the success of a business idea as it is a major ingredient but so easily ignored by individuals. A business plan is a formal written document outlining the goals of a (new) business, outlining how it is attainable and stating plans on how to achieve them. It is an essential roadmap for the success of a business because “...failing to plan is planning to fail” in itself. So true.
This document must contain a description of your business covering the strategies, objectives, sales plan, marketing target and even financial forecasts. The essentiality of the business plan is that:
· It aids you to spot problems that may come along the way and enables you to plan for them.
· It enables you to set out your goals ahead of time. This keeps you mindful of what you plan to achieve.
· It helps you to clarify your business ideas inside your head. You cannot get the nitty gritty right until you have it on ink and paper. It points out the plan’s weaknesses.
· It helps you to obtain loan, investment or any other financial aid from people. Make you look organised and put together.
· It helps others to criticise and correct some part of your ideas that can make the plan a roadmap to failure.
· It helps you to keep track of your progress.
You can have a look of what a business plan looks like by observing the template or the financial excel template. This gets you to know the requirements and how it looks like.
What to avoid in a Business Plan...
Many even after putting the idea in a business plan, the plan is as unrealistic as it were right in their head all the time. However, in writing a business plan, there are things you can avoid for maximum impact:
· Do not put off so much into the future or the long run. This stifles you plan and makes it no better than just an idea. Concentrate on the short-term objectives and goal and modify as you go along.
· Clarity is the key here. Explain the idea in a way where it is understandable to people other than yourself. This is kind of the point here. Stir away from languages that only you comprehend and needs you to verbally make other see it your way. The business plan should be able to speak for itself. In addition, use formal language not slangs.
· Be realistic not over optimistic. Optimism will make you to mess up your predictions, requirements, sales, profit and all. Do not present yourself as a business superman. Keep it simple, plain and real, above all.
· Contrary to what many start-ups think, it is not the uniqueness of your business invention that makes it successful. Rather, the planning and economics make a successful business.
How to write the Business Plan:
This process is more fruitful and easier if adequate time is given to research your ideas and gather pieces of information that are needed in it. Start-ups can benefit from research issues like:
· Marketing strategies
· Capitalization requirement
· Regulatory environment
· Business organisation
· Risk handling
Writing a business involves knowing your audience. Business plans come in different shapes, sizes and types depending on the purpose of it. Start-up and business owners for example have different formats for following this process, each have their business plan goal, and target. Business plans is developed with a target audience in mind.
Some of the most frequently included elements of a business plan are:
This is a snapshot of your business concept as a whole with the objectives and overview of the business. It is the plan’s calling card, as it appears first. It tell your reader what you are after. Here is where you state what you are asking for. It should be 1-2 pages long. This part is written last after the plan is developed. Here each paragraph summarises detailed parts of the plan. This should be very carefully prepared, as you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
It should include:
· Mission statement
· Company information
· Financial information
· Products and services
· Future projections
This is a short description of the business, discussing the present state as well as its near future possibilities. It talks about what you do, who you are, what differentiates you from other businesses. It does not just say, “We sell things”. Things that can affect you are included too. It should not be too lengthy. End this section with an explanation of how the company plans to be more profitable, for more effect.
Explanations of your target market segments and how you will differentiate your products. You write about your product Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It presents an overview of the target marketplace. This follows a meticulous market analysis of how you plan to meet customer’s specific needs. Be sure to discuss:
· Your industry and market
· Your customers
· Market size
· Pricing policy of company
Operations and management plan:
This is closely tied to the management core of the business plan. This is the heart eat of the whole business, as without it nothing else can work. Details and instructions on how to direct and organise people in the company during their daily activities, is contained in this section. It explains the logistics and responsibilities of members of the team. A profile of the members of the management team, as well as the human resource plan, production plan and all other daily routines are outlined in details.
This is the most important section, not minding that it is the last item on our business plan. Its preparation takes up most time than others. It show the direction the company is going in the light of its finances. Careful financial projections is paramount here, up to three year or more. Make sure you summarize the data, making it very understanding.