Steps on How to Draft a Successful Business Plan – Sample Template
A business plan is a document which entails the details of a business. It includes what the business will sell, what its market looks like, how it’ll be structured, your plan to sell the service or product, what funding you will need, what financial projections you have, etc.
Ideally, a business plan proves to potential investors and even yourself whether or not the business idea is one that is worth embarking on. It is the best way to pause, look holistically at the idea, and solve potential issues that could crop up in the future before you begin the business at all. Below are few tips for drafting a business plan, and then outline of how your business plan should look like.
Tips on How to Draft a Business Plan
Consider these tips before drafting your business plan an NGO or small business:
Step 1: Perform Your Research
Before drafting a business plan, you must first conduct a market research on your business idea. Several decisions about the business will be made by you. Decisions such as the finances, marketing strategies, and structure, before your plan can be completed. Also, you need to have the right information on hand to enable you to be more accurate in analysis and forecasts.
Step 2: Determine the Purpose of the Plan
Does the plan have multiple purposes? Will its usage be internal or will there be involvement of third-parties? When the purpose of your plan is decided, targeting your answers will be easy. If third parties will be involved, what will they be interested in? However, do not assume that they will only be involved in the financial aspect of the business. They’ll be looking to get the entire package.
Step 3: Don’t Attempt Completing the Business Plan from Beginning to the End
When making a draft business plan, do not be in a rush. Decide first on the sections which are relevant for the business and separate them from parts that do not apply. You can return to the less relevant sections later.
Step 4: Seek for Help
If you are not confident about completing the plan by yourself, you can seek help from a professional (accountant, business adviser, lawyer, etc.) to have a look at your plan and offer expert advice where needed.
Step 5: Expected Figures Versus Actual Figures
The actual figures can be included in the plan for an existing business. But, if it is an entirely new business where the finances and turnover are expected figures, you’ll need to show clearly that they are estimates or projected data.
Step 6: Let your Summary be the Last
As much as possible, try to use few words. Make your points clear enough without overlooking essential facts. Here is a chance to sell yourself. Do not overdo it though, so that prospective partners, wholesalers, investors or banks can go through your plan quickly and get motivated by it.
Step 7: Review
Ensure to review your business plan because it’s a good meant to create a good impression. You will not be regarded as a professional if errors are detected. So, you should look for some impartial and unsentimental people to help proofread the final plan.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN?
Section I: Title Page
A title gives a brief description of the plan as well as general information about the business. Ensure to add the relevant details on the title page of the business plan.
Section II: Business Summary
The business summary is one of the essential sections of a business plan. You don’t have to summarize all aspects of the plan. But, focus instead on the conclusions which you want your reader to reach upon reading it. Use exact and direct language which is persuasive and objective.
Section III: Body
After presenting the overall case in your Business Summary, you should write an outline on the specifics of the proposal. Here is where you get to answer the “what, who, how, why, where, and when” questions which you identified earlier in the second step. Include detailed information on logistics, pricing, and scheduling. The body of your business plan should include;
- About the Business: Typically, this is known as the operations plan or management plan. It includes details about the company such as premises and location, staff, products/services, structure, and registrations.
- About the Market: This is your marketing plan which outlines the marketing analysis of the related industry, your competitors and your customers. This section also covers your primary marketing targets and the strategies which will be used to deliver the targets.
- About the Future: This covers your plans for the business such as major business milestones, business goals, and vision statements.
- About the Finances: This includes how you will finance the business, financial projections, and the costing.
Section IV: Conclusion
After outlining the details of the business plan, you should re-emphasize the outstanding results that can be provided by your company. Ensure that your conclusion has a call to action which encourages the readers to visit the given website or contact you for more details. Ideally, you’ll like your clients respond as soon as possible, even if it’s something little.
I believe this post has helped solve the issue of how to draft a good business plan and what a business plan should contain. If you have any question, you can drop it via the comment box below.