Having a business plan is crucial when formulating your business. Not only can it help guide you & your role, but it can also help you get funding or investors.
In this article, we discuss how to structure your business plan, what you need to include in it and how many pages it should be.
We also talk about where to redirect your readers after they finish reading your business plan.
Keep reading for some helpful advice on how to build an irresistible business plan.
Determine your objectives
Every business plan has a specific goal, and that is to help you do something. Whether it is starting your own company or helping another organisation thrive, the objectives should always be clear from the start.
Why defining your objectives in a business plan matters
- Helps you set clear and achievable objectives so that you can make strides towards success
- Allows for evaluation of both personal strengths and weaknesses to better your chances of success
- Creates a game plan to share with team members or potential investors
- Provide guidance for the continual growth of your business
Identify the problem you are trying to solve
Every business plan starts with identifying the pain points of the customers the business intends to serve and how their service or product can alleviate their problems.
The aim of a business plan is to help facilitate the start of your new business or expand an existing company. If you are starting a new business, then it is your responsibility to determine the problem that you want to solve with this venture and how your product or service will help eliminate these problems in the marketplace.
For example, if you are running a bakery, what are some common problems? Is there a lack of nutritional value in the products? Is the customer service of local competitors lacklustre? Are competitors using lesser quality ingredients?
Once you’ve identified the problem your business intends to solve, it’s time to come up with a plan of action. This is where you outline how exactly this new venture will resolve these problems and the inner workings of your strategy.
Assess and manage risk
Identifying any risks that could affect your business is crucial to a successful and well-thought-out business plan.
You will need to determine the extent of these risks and the possible outcomes for you and your business.
Risks can be identified in a few ways: industry-specific, location-specific, or business/financial specific. Some initial questions to get you started:
- Do I have enough capital to get my company off the ground?
- What are some potential barriers for this venture?
- Who will be responsible for these tasks and how much does it cost in terms of labour or resources, etc.?
Develop a timeline for achieving your objectives
The timeline you develop should include key milestones and events that will happen in the next 12 months, based on your best estimates and realistic targets.
If you do not have a forecast, make sure to at least outline what needs to be accomplished before any of these dates can arrive.
In the words of our expert advisors, here are some of the reasons why this step is so crucial:
- Focuses direction by mapping out a timeline for your goals
- Peace of mind knowing your plan is laid out in detail
- Increases productivity and income by planning out each step in-advance
- Makes it easier to track and measure progress and see what needs to be done next
- Keeps you motivated and on task, with deadlines visible at all times
Ensure your objectives and milestones are based on the SMART method – which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. This helps direct your goals into targets that are realistic and open to easy assessment.
Evaluate your traits and how they relate to the project’s outcome
You may not have considered this before, but evaluating your own personal strengths and weaknesses can help you to understand the strengths of your business.
For example, you may be good at accounting because you like maths, or you may be good at admin because you enjoy creating systems and workflows.
Some people are passionate about what they do for a living or their hobbies, which means that it is easier for them to leverage this passion into a viable product or service offering for a potential audience of customers.
Once you know where your skills lie in relation to this project’s success or failure, it will be easier for you to create a plan that balances what you are good at with what needs work.
Example business plan outline
While every business plan will be slightly different based on the company and the reasoning behind creating the plan, below is a general idea of what you should be including in your business plan. Aim for around 15-20 pages, although this can also vary depending on the business.
- Executive Summary: A summary page or two of your business plan, the key highlights and what you want the reader to understand before reading further.
- Company Description: What your business does, a mission statement, your history, legal structure, objectives, etc.
- Product or Service Line: Describe what you are selling to customers and how you differentiate.
- Market Analysis: Demonstrate your knowledge of the market, the key players, market share, who your customers are, and how to reach them.
- Strategy and Implementation: How you intend to meet your objectives, timeline of achieving goals, sales and marketing channels, daily operations & responsibilities.
- Management Team: Describe the organisational structure and the key management team members.
- Financial Analysis: A financial sitrep of your business’ accounts and projected Profit and Loss and cashflow tables with forecasted figures.
If you would like experienced business advisors to assist you with your day-to-day operations or long-term goals, get in touch today and set up a chat. Contact us via our contact form, email us directly or call us on 0203 815 8005.