Top Tips for Business Planning
Back in February, we wrote a post about launching your business and the importance of “branding” before you actually launch your business. But there’s actually a very importnat thing that every new business should be even before they seek professional branding advice and services…and that’s: writing an effective business plan. A business plan is a very important strategic tool for any new business. A good business plan not only helps a new business to focus on the specific steps necessary for their to make business ideas succeed, but it also helps to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives.
Here are some top reasons as to why writing a business plan are critical to any new business:
- To Test the feasibility of the business. Writing a plan to test the likelihood of success is a lot less risky than actually going out and doing it. Writing the plan and testing the plan can save a whole lot ot=f time and money if the plan reveals that the business idea is unfeasible.
- A business plan will give your idea the best chance of succeeding. The exercise forces you to think about the broad financial and operational objectives, obstacles and scenarios. Taking the time to write the plan will help you overcome a lot of start-up challenges and limit the unforeseen problems.
- Helps you secure start-up funding. You’re new business is likely going to need some cash infusion to help it get off the ground and without a well-written plan, there’s no chance of getting financing from established sources.
- To Attract Investors. Whether you plan to run the business through it’s entire life or you plan to attract a buy-out a few years down the road, having a solid business plan will encourage interest from investors. And as you grow, so will your capital needs, so being prepared will help your expansion when the needs arise.
- Empowers you to determine your future. Whether your objective is to run a small business or become a leading industry competitor, the only way to ultimately control the outcome of your business undertaking is to plan for it. By documenting your ideas and strategies–what you want to see happen and how you plan to get there–you are taking control of your future and placing the power to direct the final outcome in your own hands.
Here are the Components of a Good Business Plan:
Leave space for the Executive Summary at the beginning of the document but do not complete until the full plan has been written.
The executive summary should include the key points of your plan including target markets, high level forecasts and key dates.
Describe the unique selling points (USPs) of the product or service and your vision for the business. Provide context to your description: Remember that the reader will not know you therefore write clearly and concisely without acronyms and jargon.
Outline who your customers are, who your competitors are, and any current or future trends which will affect your market.
Do not recreate data. Provide your analysis of material and how it would affect the business sector.
Include information on the expected demand for your product or service, explaining how and why you have come to those assumptions.
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Your brand concept should include: Supporting details that enhance/explain further your ideals,
vision, key messages/strategies and point of differences.
Include cash ﬂow statements, proﬁt and loss forecasts, and sales forecasts.
List estimated dates of completion for different aspects of your business plan with targets for your business and milestones.
Include all licenses, permits, agreements, existing contracts and any additional documents that support your business plan.
Download the Business Plan checklist.
Learn more about branding your business.