In simple terms, a business plan outlines your vision for the future of your business, assessing where you are now and where you want to be in the future. By asking yourself a few questions a comprehensive plan will begin to emerge:
- What is the nature of your business?
- What is the market? Who is the target consumer and how many rivals do you have?
- How much money will you need to invest?
- What are the prospects for investors?
It is important to remember that business plan is a persuasive tool so it must make whoever is reading it (especially if you want them to invest) want to keep on reading.
If financial investment is the ultimate goal from an outside investor, make sure your financial figures are accurate and you can back them up – as Dragons Den has shown, they can be easily ripped apart by seasoned investors!
What to include
Essentially, your plan should consist of four key sections:
- A mission statement – Why does your business exist and for what purpose does it serve?
- Objectives – What are your goals and ambitions?
- Strategy – How will your business achieve its goals?
- Budget – How much will it cost to achieve these goals?
Make sure the plan is succinct and compact. Only include the key points and do not go into unnecessary details. It should be short, sharp and concise.
Key benefits of a Business plan
If you thought that a business plan is a waste of time or not necessary to become successful then think again. A business plan is a key element of any business and having a well researched plan can provide many key benefits that include:
- Convincing lenders and investors to invest capital in your businessø
- Provides an estimate of start up costs and how much will need to be investedø
- Helps clarify targets such as where you want the business to be in a certain amount of time
A business plan can make confusion and uncertainties about your business become a lot clearer. By having a plan, you can keep on top of your objectives and allows you to see how far away or how close you are from your goals.