If you don’t know exactly what business planning is and you are looking for a way to understand more about the world of business, this quick guide will introduce you to the one thing most wannabe entrepreneurs don’t do right: the business plan document. There are people who think it’s just a piece of paper, others who think it’s the only important part of your business. Well, it’s not like that. A good business plan is necessary but not sufficient to guarantee success in your business. This guide will help you write a good one.
Simply put, the first section is an overview of the most important parts of your business. This part of the business plan is like the incipit of a book and needs to “hook” the reader and make him/her want to know more. A good b.p. in fact is not only informative but also appealing.
This is the section where you talk about the company statement, legal issues and the industry you are going to work in. Information and “sale” mix also in this part of the business plan.
Products & Services
Without them, you are not an entrepreneur and you do not have a company. What are you offering the world? It could be something you can touch or “package”, like a product, or something you do directly or through your employees for your customers, i.e. a service. In the Products & Services section of your business plan you also describe pricing strategy, delivery, research & development, production.
Marketing & Sales
You provide value, but how do people know about it? Your business plan must state clearly who you are going to market to (who’s your ideal customer?), who are your competitors and how you will beat them, daily/monthly promotion activities and everything related to the sales process.
Operations & Management
In this part of the plan you will deal with the operations which are part of your business (the most common are risk assessment, milestones, location) and also define the exact management structures: the team, the organizational chart, key job descriptions and so on.
The game of business needs money. The most important part of your business plan is the one where you convince that it is financially sustainable in the long-term. What will the cashflow be? What about break-even analysis and financing? Be detailed and honest and understand the whole financial picture of your wannabe company.
Sometimes, additional features are included, for example:
- SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the competitors’ landscape
- Glossary: Help non experts speak the industry jargon
- Graphic elements: Make your presentation stand out!
What is the section you find the most difficult to deal with?
- License: Image author owned
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