Planning is one of the key factors for any successful business venture. Whether you are looking for banks or investors to fund your business idea or project or you just want to give a more concrete approach to your small business ideas, a well-written comprehensive business plan is what you need to meet these goals.
Based on your plan, you can outline your business strategy, both short-term and long-term. Without a plan… well, there’s an old adage “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Why Create a Business Plan?
The most common use for a business plan is for new and existing businesses to get funding from a bank or loan organization. This is where you’ll end up needing that detailed document that supports all aspects of your plans and explains why you believe they’ll succeed.
Writing a business plan of this nature can be an ordeal and can slow down the start of your business, but it’s a necessity if you need someone else to loan you money.
Both online and offline business owners often create business plans on a yearly basis to get themselves organized for the next year. It’s a way of taking stock of progress, examining what’s working, and laying out goals and plans for the year to come.
Almost all successful business owners will tell you that they create business goals and action plans on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once a month since markets can change quickly.
In addition, if you have been struggling in your business or are considering something new, the entire process of creating a business plan will help you see where you can be most profitable.
It will also tell you where you are going wrong and need to change.
What are the Key Components of a Business Plan?
Most business plans consist of the following parts. If you are creating a proposal for a business loan, you’ll be given more precise requirements. But for small business planning purposes, these components should be sufficient:
- Description of your business model and target market.What kind of business are you implementing and who are your target clients?
- Unique Value Proposition. What do you have to offer that makes you different from everyone else? Why should people buy from you or work with you.
- Business goals. What are your specific, measurable goals that you want to achieve, and when?
You must write down what you want to achieve in the short term and long term. The short term goals may include what you want to achieve within the next few months or up to one year.
For example, acquiring the right business licenses, or getting office space. Your long term goals are likely to include where you see yourself in the next three to five years
- Marketing Plan. What marketing strategies will you put in place and what is their timeline?
Market strategies are the result of a thorough market analysis carried out after market research has been done. After determining who and what your prospects are, you can begin crafting strategies to establish and solidify your position in that market.
A market analysis will also help you establish pricing, distribution, and promotional strategies that will allow your company to be successful.
- Action Plan. What are the tasks you need to complete and when?
- Financial forecast and budget. How much is all of this going to cost on a monthly basis, and what kind of revenue do you expect? How long will it take to break even and make a profit?
This gives you a realistic picture of your financial situation; you must look at all your anticipated expenses for every single month in comparison to what you really think you are going to earn.
This will enable you to decide whether you have sufficient cash to cover all your costs or if you will need to acquire a loan to cover some of these expenses.
So, did you start your business without a plan? How did a business plan help your long-term goals? Give us your feedback in the comments section below or join our newsletter by signing up here. Also, feel free to share this blog!