HOW TO WRITE A STARTUP BUSINESS PLAN
An appropriate business plan for a start-up business will present all the relevant parts, thrusts and objectives of the venture. These items are meant to provide the framework with which the start-up will engage and interact with clients and the market place.
A business start-up is one that needs a defined template to navigate the business ecosystem in which it projects to operate. Your business start-up; whether it is entering a niche market or an established sector needs a business plan.
The essential items of a business plan for a start-up will include an executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management structure and organization, start-up expenses and capitalization, Financial plans, Projections as well Appendices.
Each of these items will be discussed in greater detail, so that you can appreciate what each contributes to the importance of having a business plan template for the start-up:
a. Executive Summary
In this section, you will give a description of what the business entails, the reasons for the founding of the business, the availability and scope of the target market as well as other incident matters that are relevant to the projected operations of the business.
The Executive summary could also give a picture of the founder(s) of the start-up, their core competencies, and the base of operations of the start-up amongst other points of information.
b. Company Description
You will need this section to focus attention on what form the start-up business will take: will it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company or some other kind of business structure allowed under the laws of the land you intend to operate in. You might also need to give reason(s) as to why this structure was chosen and what plans you have in place to accommodate expansion and expected growth in your operations as a start-up business.
Just as important, your start-up business plan template may include the names, designation and competencies of key and general staff and their expected contribution to the smooth functioning of the business start-up.
c. Product and Services
Your business plan must state clearly what services and/or goods your start-up will bring to the market place, in order to get value for the time, effort and resources put into the provision of the said service/goods. If it is a new product/service, your plan should clearly reveal how it will be of value to your target market/customers.
If your start-up intends to improve upon an existing service or product, then your plan must provide how your operations will further shore up the value already obtainable in your chosen market/niche.
d. Marketing Plan
A business plan for any start-up that fails to incorporate a marketing plan or course of action is akin to a farmer going to his farmstead without the tools and know-how of farming. Marketing is at the core of any business and your start-up cannot afford not to have one.
A marketing plan subsumes all the action steps that your start-up business will embark upon in creating awareness and drawing attention to the goods and service that is on offer. It will also include information on the most cost effective means/methods of advertising, connecting with potential and existing customers as well as creating and sustain loyalty to the brand image of the start-up venture.
e. Operation Plan
Your operation plan for your start-up involves crafting out efficient and effective processes and structures that govern all activities relating to the creation of the service/product, the infusion of value by branding/differentiation to the reaching the final consumer/client/customer.
f. Management Structure and Organization
Putting in place a plan for how your start-up business will run is indispensable for success. Even at the early stages, where more often than not, start-ups are run by one or two persons, it is important to lay the frame work for how present and future members of staff will interact efficiently and effectively, in order to achieve the overall business aims and ob-objectives of the start-up.
g. Start-up expenses and Capitalization
It is a given that the life-blood of any business, especially a start-up, is the cash flow and financial health of the venture. Your start-up business plan must clearly state the existing and projected sources of capital. Will the funds come from personal sources or will the start-up seek external funding like loans or grants from financial institutions?
h. Financial Plans
Under this section, you would need to show what sources will serve as revenue generators for your business start-up. In addition, your plan will also include the long term projections regarding profits and return on investment in addition to any expansionary objectives of the start-up.
What this section sets out to achieve is giving a peek into the general direction and thrust of the start-up business, especially in regard to the interactions amongst economic policy, market dynamics and customer preferences, for the present and the future.
Projecting for the future will help your business start-up engage in proactive measures in dealing with/mitigating he effects of unfavorable business circumstances, as well as taking advantage of favorable indices that may arise in the course of doing business.
A business plan template for a start-up will and should incorporate all of the above mentioned items and any other relevant points of reference. Not only are business plans necessary for the general direction and drive of the business, it could also serve as means of attracting investment and equity funding for the start-up business, from banks and other financial institutions.