If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the fledgling stages of creating and launching your own business, and you’re here and ready to turn your bright ideas into a tangible business plan.
On the other hand, you might’ve already made it through those early stages but have since realized that your existing business plan is not exactly the streamlined, comprehensive blueprint you need in order to help you run your business more effectively.
Either way, we know you’re hunting for that winning business plan formula that’ll not only help you define, prioritize, and strategize on all aspects of your business, but that will also efficiently serve as an information bridge between yourself and your employees, potential partners, bankers and investors, as you establish roots and flourish in your business moving forward.
A fundamental formula:
Beyond your passion, your ideas and all the necessary graft, creating and running a business is essentially a numbers game; at least inasmuch as every business’s success is driven by the establishment, tailoring of and interaction between certain fundamental formulas.
A sound, 20-50 page business plan with projections is the most fundamental of these formulas and it’s made up of a set of core components that should be in place regardless of the exact nature of your business.
Let’s take a closer look at these essential ‘chapters’ of your business plan book, what they are, and why they are each so important….
- Executive summary
The executive summary is a 2-4 page summary of your business plan that’s capable of holding its own independently and which you can share with time-pressed third parties and utilize during presentations.
It’s a vital part of every business plan and an invaluable communication tool for small businesses looking to gain traction by partnering up, bringing in investors, obtaining loans or acquiring land and assets.
- Business overview
Think of this as your business biography, a record of your businesses’ formation history, legal structure, industry identity, mission statement, location and means of doing business (ie: storefront, internet, tele-market, mail-order, etc).
This is your business profile, designed to tell the reader who you are, how you came to be and where you fit in. This section outlines your identity, without extrapolating on analysis, strategy and projection, which will all be handled in succeeding sections.
- Operations plan
This facet of your business plan comprises a detailed explanation of your company’s objectives, goals and intended procedures for implementation, accompanied by a digestible timeline highlighting deadlines for said implementation and achievement.
The operations plan is of primary interest to venture capitalists, for example, as it indicates when and how you intend to deliver a return on their investment. Moreover, your employees and yourself can benefit from this representation of how, when and where short-term tasks and objectives fit into the bigger picture.
- Market & Competitive Analyses
A market analysis will define your target market and determine how you intend to address its needs: it should be driven by relevant market-specific data, graphs and charts.
A competitive analysis will introduce and define your competitors, their efficiencies and shortcomings. It should conclude with your strategy for gaining the necessary market-edge over these competitors.
Your business will be hard pressed to cater to the demands of your chosen market without a thorough, current assessment of where that market stands and where your competitors stand. Your market and competitive analyses will furnish you with the tools to project, and it will also serve to inform the reader that you’ve done the research and are poised on top of your game.
- Products and services
This chapter will provide a concise run-down of your business’s services and/or products, including classification, description, relevance to customer, obtainment and/or production details and an explanation of why your product should be chosen over existing leaders in the market.
Strategies, analyses and projections mean little without a product or service capable of impressing the market. This section will provide a better understanding of what you offer and the quality of your offering.
After all, your products and/or services will define your brand in the minds and hearts of your customers, regardless of the sleekness of your marketing material or the speed of your delivery.
- Sales and marketing
The sales and marketing section will delineate your product/service pricing, your sales tactics and all relevant sales-focused information. It will also illustrate your marketing strategy, how you intend to reach and convert your target audience, as well as how you intend to maintain competitive pricing and relevant advertising moving forward.
Gaining and maintaining exposure, along with generating and sustaining profit are amongst your business’s prime directives, and that’s why this summary of your sales and marketing strategies are key components of absolutely every effective business plan.
- Management team
This core facet should deliver an organizational chart of your business, detailing department structures, department managers, assistant managers and employees.
It should also include an introduction to each member of your ownership and management teams, complete with pertinent credentials and background information, as well as details of share percentages and individual responsibilities.
No business, large or small, can thrive without a precisely defined management and department structure. This chapter will inform the reader of how the players and departments in your company will be effective in meeting the day-to-day challenges of a budding business.
- Financial plan & projections
This section of your optimized business plan will cover your company’s financials, both historical and projected. Start-up costs, balance sheets, running costs, allocation of funds (promotional, salaries, insurance, etc.) and anticipated need for additional funding should all be clearly outlined here.
You should include comprehensive projected income sheets and balance statements…and all information in your financial plan should be relevant for at least the next 3-5 years.
Only your financial plan and projections can truly illustrate the viability of your business model. Many would-be entrepreneurs consider their business’s success a pre-done deal, however until they’ve number crunched, adjusted ideas accordingly and outlined details in this section of their business plan, most potential investors and partners will simply show them the door.
We’ve got the tool-suite that’s perfect for you:
With a limited number of employees to which they can delegate tasks, new business owners often tend to be the busiest business owners.
Business Maker is a first-of-its-kind tool-suite, designed to eliminate most of guesswork, research time and hard-graft out of the process of making, managing and maintaining a business.
You may have all the determination and talent it takes to become a successful entrepreneur with a thriving business, however terms like value proposition, market analysis and balance sheet projection may still strike you as difficult and somewhat dirty words. If that is the case, we are here to help.
Business Maker and its Business Plan Creator will ask you the pivotal questions and use your answers to guide you, step-by-step, through the creation of your tailored, effective business plan.
To develop an optimized business plan, designed as a blueprint to making smarter decisions, attracting investors and always being prepared for the unknown: Start making your business plan today with Business Maker