If you’ve already started your own business, or you’ve got big ideas and you’d love to get them off the ground, then you’re going to need to create yourself a detailed business plan. Not only does a business plan outline all of your goals and how you are going to achieve them, but it’s also a document that should be developed and refined as you learn too. A business plan is essential if you want to grow your business idea and is something that potential investors or lenders will want to see if you ever need to apply for funding in the future.
One of the most important things that you need to remember is to keep your business plan short and concise. As we’ve already mentioned, your business plan is a document that you should continue to refer to and develop over time, and if your business plan is unnecessarily long, you probably won’t want to spend hours of your time reviewing it on a regular basis. Your business plan should be detailed, and we will go into more detail about what you should include later; just make sure that it isn’t just padded out with waffle. Take your time when writing your business plan – if you’re only just writing it for the first time, it doesn’t need to be the finished article immediately. You can write a more basic outline of your business plan and then develop it over time if that works better for you.
It’s also important to remember to consider what the right type of language is required when writing your business plan. It needs to be a language that your customers can easily understand. After all, your audience are going to be integral to the success of your business, so it’s important that you write your business with your audience in mind at all times. No matter what your product or service, your business plan should detail what you are offering in a way that your audience can interpret and understand. Remember, your business plan should be focused on solving a problem, so it’s important that you audience are able to recognise the problem you are aiming to solve for them and how you intend to do it.
If you’ve never written a business plan, the thought of writing one can be daunting, but don’t let yourself be intimidated. You’ve already taken the steps to identify a problem and how you want to solve that problem, all you have to do is put it into writing and it’s as simple as that! Make a note of the sections that you should include in your business plan and take it step by step. After all, if you’re passionate about the product or service you want to offer to your customers, then once you start to put your mind to it, writing your business plan shouldn’t be difficult at all.
If you’re ready to get started, we have detailed below what details you should be including in your business plan, and a brief description that should help get you started:
Conducting a SWOT analysis should help you with this section. Essentially, your opportunities are the solutions you have found for solving a particular problem. Make sure you identify your product, why there is a need for your product as well as details on your target market and your competition. There is more than likely already going to be a business doing something similar, so take some time to identify how you are going to offer your audience something that your competitors can’t.
This section should directly follow your opportunities, and should detail how you intend to execute your plan. It should detail your businesses operation plan, your marketing and sales plans as well as how you intend to record your progress. Identifying all of these aspects in your business plan should mean that executing them for real should be plain sailing.
The section should be pretty straight-forward. All you need to do is provide a summary of your team members and what they are responsible for in your business. If you have already had some growth and have employees, it may also a good idea to give some brief details regarding their employment information too.
A business plan cannot be complete without a financial forecast. Your finance plans should contain everything from your expenses to how much money you want to invest into your marketing. This section may take up a lot of your time, but getting your financial forecasts in place now will save you a lot of time and effort in the future. Remember, your business plan should be regularly reviewed and refined, so even if you find that you haven’t adhered to your financial plans as well as you had planned, you can alter your business plan and your finances as you learn and develop your business.
If you have any additional information such as product images or even research, you can include these in your appendix. This section will differ depending on your business so don’t worry too much if you don’t have a lot of information to include here.
Your executive summary is one of the most important components of your business plan. Essentially, your executive summary should outline everything you’ve already talked about throughout your business plan. Sometimes, investors or lenders will want to read your executive summary before they even see your entire business plan, so it’s important that you take the time to ensure that your executive summary outlines every important aspect of your plan and sells your business. We would always suggest that you write your executive summary last, but include it at the beginning of your business plan so that it is the first thing that readers will see.
Remember, writing a business plan doesn’t have to be as daunting as it probably seems, especially if you’ve never written one before. It’s important that you take your time, and remember that you don’t have to have a fully detailed business plan from the get-go. Business plans should always be reviewed and refined as the business progresses, so you may start off with a very basic outline of a business plan, but over time, develop it into a plan which is much more detailed and refined.