Building a business from scratch can be challenging, therefore, creating a business plan compels you to systematically think through every aspect of your business and develop a solid blueprint to follow.
A business plan will help you map your business strategy for the future and motivate you to reach your goals. It will help you anticipate obstacles and work out solutions for overcoming them, thereby reducing anxiety and stress.
Additionally, the process of writing a business plan will likely reveal the level of commitment you need to devote to your business.
What a business plan should include
Your plan should have a professional appearance and be clear and concise. Some of the essential elements to cover in a business plan are:
- Executive summary – an overview
- Description of the business
- Product/service design & development
- Industry analysis
- Market analysis
- Marketing plan
- Management team & business structure
- Operations plan
- Legal and risk management plan
- Financial projections
Writing a plan covering all these areas may take substantial time and effort, but when your plan is complete, how much will you have learned in the process? How thoroughly will you know your business? How much more confidence will you have when you actually launch your business?
For these reasons, it is best to write the business plan yourself (or at least make an attempt), rather than employ someone to write it for you. Besides, you’ll feel a sense of excitement and fulfilment when you actually put your ideas and visions down in writing. Of course, assistance in the form of books, websites and consultants is always available.
A business plan is usually required by banks and lenders when considering an application for a business loan. Approaching a lender without a plan, or with one that has been thrown together in haste, will likely make a poor impression.
A business plan also serves as a reference for monitoring the progress of your business against your objectives and performance standards.
Preparing a plan may reveal that your idea is not feasible. While this may be unfortunate, it is better to fail on paper rather than to start your business and realise the same thing!
Collate your information and have a go at writing a business plan! If you run into trouble, look online for helpful websites, speak to a consultant or ask other business owners for ideas.