If you are in business, whether start up or older, then you realize that being in business is about growth and expansion, as much as it is about having a passion for your product or services. When you realize that you are at the point of taking your business to the next level, funding is probably an issue and if funding is the issue, then a business plan should also be a part of your funding plan. If you don’t have one yet, asking for money from any source requires that you develop a good, comprehensive Business Plan.
For some, writing that plan will be a straightforward project that is tackled with some degree of ease. Others will find it a trial – an extremely difficult chore – that is approached with trepidation, maybe even put it off – repeatedly.
Information can help make that task a little less challenging and provide the framework for putting together a business plan that speaks to your funding source and gets positive results for the business.
While writing the business plan, analyzing your business in great detail is crucial. If not already identified, you will learn your strengths and challenges. You will revisit your goals and in the process, you will create a document that can be a guide, an extremely useful tool for moving the business forward.
The most important use for your business plan, however, is to aid you as you seek funding, usually in the form of a loan or an approach to an investor. Creating a business plan that gets results takes a great deal of hard work and may take considerable time. This can be one of the most important tasks for your business. The fact is, if your business is static, not growing, then your business is in real jeopardy. At times, it is the lack of a funding boost that hampers the growth.
There are important elements that should be included in a well written Business Blan:
- Cover Page. All the pertinent identifying information, including the address and the phone number of the business are included here.
- Executive Summary. This section includes the overall description of the business, as well as the names of the owners. This is where you capture the attention of your reader. Write engagingly and succinctly. The Executive Summary could be considered your pumped up “elevator” speech on paper. It is the time to describe what your business is and why it’s important.
- Business Description. This section explains your mission, points out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is also the section to describe your target market as well as your products and services.
- Business Location. Provide the location of your company and why you decided to locate the business there. Explain the relevance and impact this location has on your product or service.
- Market Analysis. Here you will explain you competition (direct and indirect), and the overall environment in which the business will operate. Are you bricks and mortar only or are you Internet based? Perhaps you are a combination of both. Report on industry trends and the factors that contribute to that trend. Pricing and product comparisons are also included.
- Marketing Strategy. It is obvious that marketing is one of the key elements of any business. It’s the beacon to your services and products. It will flow from you marketing analysis and should also include the sales plan.
- Management and Personnel. It is important to describe the organizational structure of the business, including key personnel, along with compensations and benefits.
- Financials. The information you provide about the business financial position will help convince investors of the feasibility and financial viability of the business. Expect to provide at least two years of projections along with any current sources of funding and the pro forma balance sheet.
The Business Plan is an important document for any business. It is the means for any entities you are approaching to get a clear picture and understanding of your enterprise. More than at any other time, this is when you want to be thorough.
If you have difficulty finding the time to do as in-depth a business plan as is needed for the industry, there are companies that can provide assistance with developing the best business plan possible. Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions is a company that can aid in this important process.
CEO and President
I welcome your comments on the experiences you have had with writing your Business Plan.