Your business plan will help you flesh out your idea and get a better feeling of whether you are ready to go ahead. Taking time to complete a thorough business plan before you start your business will reduce the risk of you missing something.
A plan will also be required by your bank and other lenders before they offer you credit, business loans or overdraft facilities.
It is important to outline all of the main points to give you and others a clear snapshot of your business idea, or where your business is heading.
Completing the plan will help you think methodically and sharpen your ideas about your business concept.
The plan will also enable a stranger to grasp your business idea without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
Templates are available on various websites.
The following is not exhaustive but a thorough business plan will normally include the following:
Business Overview comprising brief history of your business or why you have decided to start one, purpose of the business, products and services. Your current position, competitive advantages, strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, a brief overview of your plans to grow the business.
Business Strategy for the next year/3/5 years, your specific objectives and goals, tactics, steps you need to take, resources you will need. Outline strategic threats or opportunities in the short to medium term and outline the business core values.
Marketing – market research undertaken and marketing plans, how you will reach your customers, how you will use technology, how you will actually promote your business to clients, your marketing budget and how you will build credibility.
Team and management – structure and experience, external advisors, management systems.
Financial budgets and forecasts – Cash flow forecast, profit & loss forecast, balance sheet forecast, capital expenditure budget