So, you have created a new product/service and want to start your own business but don’t know where to begin. We, at BiD Network, come across Business Plans from exciting entrepreneurs everyday and believe that we can help. Whether or not you are starting your business from scratch or empowering it to grow – a business plan (continued to be called a BP) is a necessity, in particular if you want to attract investors. A BP also helps you to define or improve your strategy.
BP’s come in many different formats because there are many different companies and/or websites that claim to have the best way to write one. But, there is one section that every BP has in common; the Executive Summary.
The Executive Summary is the most important part of any Business Plan. It is the one section where an investor will decide whether or not he wants to read the rest of the BP. An Executive Summary should be a concise account of why your business will be “uniquely qualified to succeed”. But, hold off on writing your Executive Summary until you have answered all the following sections.
- The Business.
- General company description including the target market and gap in the market that you are filling. It is also important to state the Company’s mission statement, goals and long term strategy of the business.
- Products & Services. Explain how your product/service works and why a consumer should purchase it. What is the value that is created for customers and the market. Feel free to go in depth because this is ultimately what you are trying to sell.
- Marketing plan. Elaborate what your competitive advantage is in the marketplace. Also, it is important to include the customer analysis. What is your target market and describe how you will market your product towards that specific target market?
- Operational plan. Here it is time to discuss the production process of your product/service. Include the facilities, raw materials, costs, inventory, legal environment, etc. Another key part about the operations plan is the personnel. List the number of personnel and their skill level. Don’t be afraid to elaborate on the details.
- Entrepreneur & Team.
- The entrepreneur. This is your chance to introduce and promote yourself. What are your qualities and achievements that allows you to stand out from your competitors?
- The Team. Who are the key players in the organization? Promote your personnel with their previous work experience, education and/or skills.
- Ownership. Who owns and finances the business?
- Risk Analysis. This is a crucial section of the BP. Elaborate on the main risks of your business. It is necessary that you are honest and list the relevant risks; i.e, a supplier going out of business. Make a list of; the risk, the likeness of the risk happening, the cost of the occurrence and the measures that you plan to take to minimize that risk.
- Development Impact. Describe the local economic and social impact that your organization will create. Number of employees or amount of indirect jobs that will be created.
- Financial Plan
- Investment Plan. Here you need to state the finance that is needed to get your business operational. Specify as much as possible the exact finance need and how you plan on spending that added capital.
- Financial Plan Summary. Summarize the main points of your financial plan here. The financial plan and this BP should be supporting documents to attract investors towards your business.
- SWOT Analysis. The SWOT analysis investigates the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and the opportunities and threats in the market. It is used to support the marketing plan and can be included here.
- Competitive Analysis. What separates you from your competitors and will ultimately make you (more) appealing to your target market?
Please find our template for a business plan and a financial plan. Again, you might structure your plan differently or include aspects that are more relevant to your organization. Allow your BP to be tailored directly towards what you and your organization. Online templates are helpful – but if they are not relevant to your organization, the effect of the BP will not be productive to your end-goals. As you are completing most of your BP content, it is important to look at the layout as well. A BP should be attractive and clear to multiple readers, do not hesitate to ask others for feedback. Ultimately, your BP should be no longer than 15 pages so keep everything clear and concise.