Business plans are an essential part of any business. It broadcasts the proposal, prospect and ideas of a business strategy. It is the mean that will showcase your business to potential investors and draw revenue. There was a time when business plans used to be lengthy, comprising of many pages and complex.
Trends have changed. Nowadays business plans are shorter and simpler. This might be a result of its wider popularity. More and more people nowadays read business plans and since people are running out of time, they simply do not want to waste their time in wading through these large and lengthy documents.
Why you need one?
Before even starting to write a business plan, you need to know why you need one. I have been in the marketing business for years and have written thousands of business plans for companies, entrepreneurs, new start-ups and small scale businesses. I have often heard people saying, â€œWe have our funds, why do we need a business plan?â€
Well, to be precise â€“ business plans are not fund-raising tools, my friend! There are a number of roles that this would play and a number of purposes to write them.
- Certainly, it conveys your vision to potential investors.
- Showcases prospect of your business and its future.
- Your business goals.
- How to strategically approach your goals.
- Attracts key employees.
- Helps in dealing with suppliers.
- Your organizational structure.
- Potential problems.
Depending on your details and information, your plan can be anywhere between 10 to 100 pages or even more than that. But, usually, a standard plan would be 15 to 20 pages long.
5 Essential Tips:
Now that you know exactly why you need a business plan and how they should be, you need to know how to write them. I understand, it is a very boring task and you might be lost regarding where to start from and how to start! Here are a few basic tips that you must keep in mind â€“
- Use easy to read, short sentences, unless you are compelled to use a complex sentence to complete its meaning.
- Do not use jargons, buzzwords or acronyms. You might think that they are common, but that does not mean that the reader should also know them.
- Keep the language simple. Do not use complex synonyms.
- Draw attention and focus towards the key points by using bullets.
- Use brief explanations to support your bullets. If the bullet points are not explained, it can frustrate the readers.
Letâ€™s come to the main part:
Alright, now we should head straight to writing a plan for your business.
- Executive summary:
This should follow the title page. Clearly define what your objectives are and what you want. This will help the readers directly connect to your plan.
- Business description:
An investor, an employee or a supplier â€“ every single entity must know your market. Clearly describe your industry, its current market status and its future prospects. If there are markets within your industry, discuss about them as well. How your products can benefit or negatively impact that market should also be mentioned.
- Competitive analysis:
Before starting up a business, every imitative must conduct a thorough market analysis. The strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and rivals must be analysed beforehand. Your research study should be mentioned in your plan, so that investors, employees and suppliers can go through them.
- Strategic plan:
Depending on your analysis, your business strategies should be developed. They should keep in focus, how to overcome weaknesses, prevent competition and garner sales.
- Design and development plan:
Now you should switch to your particular product. The context of its production, its design, budget and marketing techniques or goals should also be mentioned.
- Financial factors:
Finally, you should project your finance plans and ideas. Your investments, profit margins and returns from investment must be clearly mentioned in this section.
In this section, you should be using clear charts to project your data. Not just the finance data, but market analysis and other vital data information should also be projected through charts. Using two dimensional charts is a good idea as they are easy to read. But, three dimensional charts look sleeker.
There are different types of plans, such as â€“
- The Miniplan â€“ Usually 1 to 10 pages long.
- The Working Plan â€“ More attention to details.
- The Presentation Plan â€“ Focuses on the presentation factor rather than on written plan.
- The Electronic Plan â€“ Rather than a printed hardcopy, it is meant to be used in computer based or projector based presentation.
It can be confusing for new business students to write one for their business assignments. In facts, marketing executives new to their business can also face troubles. There are online help or assistance services that can do this task for you. You can get in touch with them and they will help you with the process and make sure your business plan is a crisp one.