Creating an effective business plan is possible when you follow these five steps.
1. Create an Outline
Find a template for a standard business plan. The list details each section of a business plan in the order that they need to be included: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and the Appendix. Begin to input the information that you are aware of for each of these sections. Do not stray away from the model for a standard business plan. You need to ensure that the investors know right where to look when they want to see your information.
2. Research, Research, Research
The majority of all of your research will be done for the Industry, Customer and Competitive Analysis portions. Be sure that the resources you use to gain information are reliable and are trusted in the industry. You need to locate stats, trends and market facts. When completing your Operations Plan, your Marketing Plan, and your Financial Plan parts, do some research about the costs involved in operations and start up, possible locations (if this applies), and the availability of qualified laborers in the niche that you are operating in. Be sure to include your own business in your research as well. Include any existing labor that you have as well as any required labor so that you can put this in your Company Analysis.
3. Create a Strategy
Use the research you have completed to decide if you should continue on with your business plan. You may find that your business idea is not a good one because there isn’t a market for it. If you find that you do have a market for your ideas then create a map that will show all forms of revenue that you can anticipate from company offers to the target market. This information will be used in your Marketing Plan. Be sure to cover how you will operate your business as well so you can put it in your Operations Plan.
4. Calculate Each Piece of Financial Information
Your Financial Plan is where you will store this information. All costs, activities, and revenues will be put into accounting terms to create a pro forma, or projected, financial statement for your business. Make use of a financial template that is found in a spreadsheet program to create a financial plan that is solid. You may decide to get help from an accountant, unless you are an accountant. Of the available sections in the business plan, this is the section that an investor will be paying a great deal of attention to.
5. Create The Narrative
Follow this order when you are creating your business plan: Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Company Analysis, Management Team, Financial Plan, and of course the Executive Summary, which provides a snapshot look at the entire business and is what is used to get investors to read on in the plan. Your Executive Summary should be placed in the front of your business plan and the Appendix should be at the back. The Appendix will be used to store all of your supportive materials like info graphics, expanded analyses, and other things.
It is common for a business to make the mistake of putting a great amount of focus on their business and not spending the time doing research about the market that the business will be working within. If you pay attention to this, you will create a market plan that will grab the attention of the investors.