Whether you’re looking for funding, setting up a business or examining growth, a business plan is one of the most vital documents you can invest your time and effort in creating. It gives you the road map for where your business will go, what its potential is and the market you are competing within. Here are 10 quick tips for creating a comprehensive business plan.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
A business plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if the details aren’t properly completed with adequate research. Take the time to research the type of information that should be contained or seek professional assistance, then work through each section of the document and provide enough detail for the reader to make informed decisions about your business.
IT’S A LIVING DOCUMENT
Any plan should be considered a living document. It will evolve, alter and change over time. That’s why it’s essential to revisit your business plan throughout the life of your business.
AT A GLANCE
One of the most important sections of any business plan is the summary. It should be written in a professional manner that briefly touches on the themes that will be revisited in more detail later in the document. Basically it’s an overview, so ensure it is brief enough to keep the reader’s attention but honed enough to adequately capture the essential elements of your business.
KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND
There are a variety of reasons to write a business plan. It might be to attain initial or growth funding, to sell your business or to examine where your business is at and what the future has the potential to hold. Whatever reason you have, write the plan with an audience in mind.
DO THE FIGURES
The figures are arguably the most important element of your plan, and they are likely to be pored over in depth. Ensure your figures are up to date and accurate.
KNOW YOUR MARKET
For your own benefit and for that of others looking to your plan, know the market you operate within intimately. Your plan should outline the demographic you target, including who the product or service is aimed at, the size of the market, their likely income and spending habits.
CONSIDER YOUR COMPETITION
Your business plan should also reference competition or potential competition as this affects your market share. It’s about knowing who you’re going up against.
SHOW THE POTENTIAL
Is there a segment of your market that’s untapped? Is there a new product you could use or better technology that would allow you to increase revenue? Outline the potential of your business and what it could do based on these scenarios.
DO THE PROJECTIONS
A business plan is not just about now, it’s about the future so should include projected earnings and future revenue streams.
REFER TO THE PLAN
Once you have a plan, use it. This is a valuable document that should have revealed a path forward. So utilising its recommendations, strategies and procedures, use it to finance, build or hone your business.