At its heart, any business plan presents a logical argument. Your company’s business plan should inform your readers of the type of business your company conducts, who your customers are, and how your company will achieve tremendous financial success. Consider the following questions when you’re first starting to create your business plan.
What are you capable of accomplishing?
You believe you’ve hit on an idea you can develop into a business that’s capable of generating millions of dollars of profit. You understand the resources you’ll need, how all the parts of the business will fit together, and how you’ll deliver your product or service to the right customers. You even know how you’ll be able to ultimately cash out, through either an initial public offering or a buyout.
It’s good to understand these things, but you also need to honestly evaluate what you’re actually capable of accomplishing. For example, if you don’t already have the resources you’ll need to produce your product, you need to know how you’ll be able to get them. Is there a market for your product, and is the market expanding? Do the members of your management team have the kind of successful track record that would appeal to potential investors? Do you have the ability to successfully overcome any existing entry barriers in your targeted field, and can you establish any new barriers that will deter your competitors?
Make a two-column list. In one column list what you already have. Use the second column for what you still need. If you can realistically get what you still need, you’re capable of success.
Do you have a business plan template?
It’s impossible to know everything there is about writing a business plan, and even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to keep it all in your head. That’s why the assistance of a business plan template is so crucial. You can drape your ideas, concepts, knowledge and information over the bare bones of a template. The template you use to create the structure of your business plan should address everything you need to make your completed business plan a knockout. Its sections should include an Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan and an Appendix. The template should also include section subheadings to help you fill in the structure completely yet succinctly.
Do you have a source of feedback?
Ask those whose opinions you value to review and provide feedback on a draft business plan. Although you should only show it to those you trust, your business concept is probably safe from theft. After all, it isn’t really the idea that counts, it’s your ability to execute and fulfill it. The people who review and comment on a draft of your business plan may think of things you’ve overlooked, and the final version may be much better as a result.
Do you have a schedule?
It can take a long time to write an effective business plan, but you can speed the process a bit by establishing and maintaining a schedule. By setting specified times of the day to work on specific sections, many entrepreneurs complete their business plans within a week. Simply stick with your schedule, no matter what it is.