Why have a business plan?
A business plan should help you answer some fundamental questions about your business idea, such as who, where, when and how. More concretely, this means: Who is starting the company? Where will the company be based? What is the time scale for setting up the company? How will you accomplish all this – using what resources? Your business plan will cover all aspects of your project and should include:
- A description of the company, its managers and products
- A market analysis of potential customers and competitors
- The marketing plan
- Infrastructure (production and management) and technology
- Financial management
- Financial and operating plans
- A risk assessment
Here are some basic guidelines to follow when drawing up your business plan:
- Be clear: Get your reader’s attention by keeping it simple and precise, making sure the key points of your project stand out.
- Be realistic: Clearly state both the strengths and potential risks of your strategy. And your strategy should give your company a competitive edge.
- Remember how important first impressions are: Your plan is your calling card – make sure it is interesting and thorough.
Your business plan and you
With your business plan in hand, financiers and other outside partners will see that:
- you know your business;
- you know the strengths of your business idea while recognizing the risks, and you are realistic about your chances;
- your financing plan is thorough and your profit outlook is feasible; and
- you have the background and skills needed to manage the company.
You can always get help from an outside consultant. They will make sure you are asking the right questions – and they’ll help you find the answers.