A business plan is an important part of your business planning and a necessary factor in applying for funding. Banks and building societies will ask for a business plan when considering your application. The ability to create a coherent, carefully thought-out and realistic plan will stand you in good stead in getting the capital required to start or grow your business. A business plan is also an important document to refer to throughout different stages of business growth because it details strategic information.
A business plan includes a description of your business, details of development and growth, a management plan, marketing plan, financial information and budget forecasts. Below is a list of important factors to include in your business plan.
Business Plan | Description
Within this section of the business plan, you should describe the main objective of your business and what your products and/or services are. You should also mention what your unique selling points are and how your product/service will benefit the customer.
Business Plan | Market Analysis
It is important you carry out appropriate research into your target audience and detail this within your business plan. You should include details on how you will reach your intended market, how will you attract customers and what will you do to retain their custom. This type of information should be included as part of your marketing plan.
Business Plan | Competitor Analysis
In addition to analysing the overall market, you should also include analysis into your competition. Your business plan should include the answers to questions such as; who are your main competitors, what are their unique selling points and what does your business have that puts you ahead of them?
Business Plan | Management plan
This section of the business plan should include your organisational structure i.e. number of employees and where they sit on a hierarchical level. You should mention management staff and detail their roles within the business. Staffing details should also be included when referring to your operational strategy. In this section you should be including information such as manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain processes.
Business Plan | Financial Information
Banks, building societies or other investors will be particularly interested in this part of your plan. In this section you should be including historical financial information as well as forecasts. This section will be used to justify the sustainability of your business and whether it is a good financial investment. The type of information you will need to provide may include financial records, statements and profit and loss accounts.
Once you have gathered the information for all the business plan sections mentioned above, it is important to lay out your plan in a clear and concise format. Your business plan sections should be under appropriate headings and include page numbers that are referenced in a contents page. The first thing that will put off potential investors is a business plan with no structure, despite what the content is.
Another important element of your business plan is the executive summary. This section of the plan should go to the very front of the document and summarise the main points so that investors can quickly glance at your proposal. Typically, a good executive summary is limited to one or two pages. It should include; a brief history of your business including a description of what it is you offer, your objectives and information on the market, your customers and forecasts.
This guest article was written on behalf of Rickitt Mitchell (click here to visit website) by Francesca, a writer and blogger with an interest in small business and start ups.