Every business needs to have a document which can provide comprehensive information about their vision, growth plans, strategies, the idea behind their products or services, and their USPs.
Not only is this document highly useful in attracting investments for a company, it also helps in achieving the desired short-term and long-term goals.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document which contains the summary of your entire operational and financial objectives. It charts out a plan for realizing the objectives and helps you devise a strategy using the available resources.
Business plans help quantify your ideas into measurable steps which can lead to better realization of your vision.
Importance of Business Plan
It is extremely important that you have a written business plan if you wish to raise money for your business. Investors do not invest in vague ideas but demand a well-designed plan which determines the likelihood of success.
It also demonstrates your knowledge and the various efforts that you have put in for making your product a success.
Business plans are not only for businesses in their nascent stage but also for an established business. It helps them constantly refine their initial goals and plans to achieve growth at a constant rate.
It also helps a business identify the deviations from their initial plans and strategies which can lead to identification of potential weaknesses and lead to better decision-making.
Let us have a look at how you can create a business plan which can help scale your business to new heights.
How to Create a Business Plan?
Every business plan contains these components. How you present these components is what creates the difference between a good business plan and an average business plan.
The following are components of a business plan and the techniques you can use for making your business plan more appealing:
1. Executive Summary
An executive summary is basically your ‘elevator pitch.’ It is a short summary of your entire business plan which includes the desired accomplishments and your plans to accomplish them.
You must write down your mission statement, vision, and a short description of your products and services.
It is always a good idea to include the factors that motivate you, and your expertise in the field. You can enhance the visual appeal of your executive summary using a good logo, creative yet professional vision and mission statements, and the use of short and effective language.
2. Company Profile
A company’s profile contains its history, outreach, products and services, milestones, growth rate and statistics, the details about its resources, and a short overview of its capabilities.
Since this contains a lot of information, it may seem quite dull if you use paragraphs for describing it.
Condensing such a voluminous piece of information into a short summary may be a difficult task. In such cases, it is best to use graphical templates. These templates help you compress your entire profile in the form of a chart or diagram.
There are various tools available online which can help you create beautiful company profiles using customizable templates.
3. Market Analysis
This segment contains information about your understanding of the market and how your business has the potential to create a disruption. There are various tools and techniques like SWOT Analysis and Porter’s five forces which can help you analyze the market and describe the results in a presentable format.
Understanding the opportunities for growth in the market can help you present better ideas and demonstrate your preparedness in case of potential threats.
4. Competitor Analysis
Every business plan must contain the details of their competitors in the form of a perceptual map or competitor profile. It helps one understand the current level of market penetration by their competitors, the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors, and potential areas of growth.
It is a great way to demonstrate your USPs, the market that you’re looking to capture, and the areas in which you’re better than competitors.
5. Sales and Marketing Plan
This section contains a list of your targets, and the required steps for achieving these targets.
For instance, the number of sales representatives you’ll hire, the ways you’ll promote your products, the markets which would be a goldmine for your business, and the budget you have set aside for marketing your products and services.
6. Products and Services
You can get into the specifics of your individual products and services and include thorough information like its technical specifications, the lifecycle of your products, why it the product unique, and the associated patents or copyrights.
7. Ownership and Management Structure
Including details about the management helps create a strong impression that your company is being run by credible people with diverse experience and expertise. It adds further credibility to your brand and helps strengthen its claims.
8. Operations and Financial Plan
The operations plan must include details about your manufacturing facilities, resources like land, electricity, water, daily targets, manpower, inflow and outflow of materials, usage of machinery, automation, the norms and the standard practices that you’ll follow.
It is a good idea to use templates in such cases as well as to avoid creating lengthy paragraphs which might distract the audience.
Financial plans contain statistics which include your break-even analysis, profit/loss statements, balance sheets, loans and liabilities, calculation of inflation and depreciation, and a forecast about your future scope of revenue generation.
Most importantly one must include a concrete timeline which has a list of the defined period of time for achieving your targets. Without a timeline, all your ideas are like building castles in the air. The timeline demonstrates your short-term and long-term goals for better realization of targets.
You can create a visually appealing timeline using various tools available online.
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
About the Author
Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Cinergix, the team behind the development of Creately. She is an avid reader, an experienced writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.