A business plan is the core of how an organization operates. It’s where the goals are defined and how the company will achieve that goal.
Knowing how to write a business plan can improve your chances of being successful in your chosen market. A detailed layout of the path a business shall take makes it easier to study every aspect that affects its performance. Tracking its status in the market and its distance from the main goal can be more systematic and efficient.
There are various layouts available in the internet. However, you should choose one that’s most suitable for your business. Whatever format you choose, here are some basic points that should be included in a business plan.
Determine your objectives
As with any business, mission and vision statements are necessary. There should be a code that guides the whole organization’s operations and unifies all its members into striving for one goal. It’s important to know where you’re going to be able to make a plan in the first place.
Objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-framed. Ask yourself where do you want to be 2, 5, 10, and 15 years from now? Listing down your long-term and short-term goals greatly helps in pointing you to your desired destination.
Products and services
Who are the competitors? What are the advantages of your commodities over other competitors’? Why should the public buy your commodities?
Describe the products and services you’re offering the public – the nature and its uniqueness from other similar merchandises in the market.
You should have done your market research before creating a plan. State your target audience and the niche of your business. Knowing the specific population you’re catering helps in determining more effective advertising campaigns.
The capital and other resources needed should be clearly defined. How will the company start? Where shall it get funding? Who are the investors? These are some of the details that should be tackled and given justice in a plan.
The expected annual income and the expenses for operating the whole business should also be written down. This shows how the business will sustain its operations and face possible financial dilemma in its existence. It’s the safest option to do 12-month cash flow projections for at least a period of 24 months to determine the sustainability of the business.
Any plan, no matter how intricate, would just be a waste if not acted upon.
Set a strategy on how you will proceed with the operations. Determine the most probable hurdles your business might face and the steps that should be done to overcome them. There should be protocols set on how conflicts, whether internal or external, should be dealt with.
Set milestones to target more achievable goals. This way, you could keep track of the status of your business and you’d be able to measure how far you are from reaching your ultimate goal. For instance, you could set a milestone of being able to sell 1,000 units of your product a year after its launch.
Summarize the entire plan
Usually the executive summary appears first before any other section in a business plan. It should digest and accentuate the most significant points of the whole plan.
Depending on the status of your business, the summary might contain some info that might help to better define its nature. Basically, it should contain: the company objectives, a brief description of the company history and some business highlights (if there are any), the products and/or services, financial information, and future plans for the company.
Business plans shouldn’t be static; it should be continuously improved adjusted to adapt to the ever-changing environment a business lives in.