Whereas the working plan is made for reference by the owner, the presentation needs to be written with investors, bankers, and the public in mind. Understand the basic structure of the business plan.
Whether you opt for a miniplan, or a comprehensive working plan to start, it is essential to understand the basic elements of a business plan. The business concept is the first broad element of a business plan. The focus here is on the description of your business, its market, its products, and its organizational structure and management.
The market analysis is the second major element of a business plan. Your business will operate within a particular marketplace, and it is important to understand customer demographics, preferences, needs, buying behavior, as well as the competition. The financial analysis is the third component of the business plan.
If your business is new, this will include projected cash flows, capital expenditures, and the balance sheet. It will also include forecasts as to when the business will break-even. If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan.
The above sections are the broad components of the business plan. These sections in turn break down into the following seven sections, which we will, in order, focus on writing next: Company description, market analysis, organization structure and management, products and services, marketing and sales, and request for funding. Format your document correctly. Format section titles in Roman Numeral order.
Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service.
Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed. Joe's coffee is located one block from the local University, and aims to provide a comfortable environment for students, professors, and downtown employees to study, socialize, or simply relax between classes or meetings. By focusing on excellent ambiance, close location, premium products, and superb customer service, Joe's coffee will differentiate itself from its peers.
Write your market analysis. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located? Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors. List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business.
This section is extremely important, as it outlines how your business will gain market share by capitalizing on competitor's weaknesses. Describe your company's organizational structure and management. This section of the business plan focuses on key personnel. Include details about the business owners and its management team. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it.
If you have an organizational chart, include it. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? What's so great about your product or service? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services? Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright? Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products.
Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others. You may state, for example, "Our coffee shop will provide five different types of beverages, including coffee, teas, smoothies, soda's, and hot chocolates. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering".
Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services.
Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above? Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request. Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request.
To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows.
Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. It will include your company's mission statement and provide readers with an overview of your products or services, target market, and goals and objectives. Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document. When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks?
Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Mention the company's corporate structure, its funding requirement, and if you will provide equity to investors.
Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans. This is the very last section and it's meant to provide additional information. Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision. The documents you include here should support claims made in other sections of the business plan. There should a section clearly outlining the risk factors affecting your venture and your mitigation plans.
This also indicates to the reader how well prepared you are for contingencies. Review your business plan for spelling and grammatical errors. Do this several times before deciding on the final version. Rework or completely rewrite content to ensure it works from the perspective of the reader. This is especially true if you are creating a "presentation plan".
Read your document aloud. This allows you to detect if any sentences do not flow together well, and it also makes any grammatical mistakes more obvious. Make a copy and give it to a trusted friend or colleague to proofread and provide feedback. Create a cover page. The cover page identifies your document and gives it aesthetic appeal and professionalism. It also helps your document to stand out. The estimated timeframe for a typical project can vary depending on your needs. A rush can be executed upon request in many situations.
Contact us directly for a price and timeframe quote. Having the right research to support your concept is essential when presenting a business plan to achieve funding.
At Optimus, our suite of tools includes research databases such as IBISWorld and The Brandow Company so that we can include the best data available in your business plan. Business Plan Development Our Business Plan Writing and Development Process We write every business plan from scratch so that we capture the unique aspects of your business fully. Unlimited Revisions All of our business plan development clients get six months of free, unlimited revisions and editing. We schedule an in-person or over-the-phone Kickoff Session with you.
OBP consultants will evaluate information from the Kickoff Session, existing client collateral, and complete all necessary research to compose your business plan. OBP will send you the full plan for review. We will revise your business plan according to your requests.
A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've .
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This guide will explain why a business plan is a must-have, provide a shortcut to the business planning process, help you collect important background information, and get you started with a working business plan outline. If you have a killer idea for a startup, but lack the time, resources and budget to develop a business plan, a business plan-generating app can help you get your plan on paper and, ideally, off.
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