A business plan is essential to your business and must be realistic. It is a written statement of intent that describes your business, its objectives, strategies, market and financial forecasts. When it comes to writing a business plan you need to remember that it should focus on four separate elements of your business: description, marketing, finances and management. These will be the main focus of anyone who wants to learn about your business.
Many people only see a business plan as a way of securing external finance for their business when in fact it should be used for so much more. There are so many benefits that a business plan can bring to your business, such as securing external finance but also for more personal business reasons such as helping you to spot potential pitfalls before they happen within your business, structuring the financial side of your business efficiently and focusing your development efforts as well as working as a measure of success within your business.
As well as helping you in many areas of your business your business plan is also wrote for a variety of potential audiences. There are many people that may want to look at your business plan; banks, investors, grant providers, anyone interested in buying your business and potential partners make up just a few of the people who may wish to see your business plan. It is because of this that you need to ensure that you outline everything about your business in a clear and simple manner.
Remember the person who is reading your plan may not understand your business and the products, services or processes that your business is offering, due to this fact it is important to try and avoid using jargon and it is also a good idea to get someone who isn’t involved in your business, for example a friend or family member to read through sections of your business plan to make sure that they understand what your business is about and what it hopes to achieve.
Within your business plan you need to set out your vision for your new business, this includes who you are, what you do, what you have to offer and the market you want to address. You also need to include an overview of your business as well as describing your products or services. Some of the key areas of your business that you need to include are: Your market, which includes its size, historical data about its development and key current issues. Your target customer base such as who they are and how you know they will be interested in your products or services. Your competitors including who they are, how they work and the share of the market they hold. The future, including anticipated changes in the market and how you expect your business and your competitors to react to them.