Having a strong business plan in place is essential when starting up. How else will you, and others, know what you are aiming to build and achieve? Equally, ongoing documenting of your business plan is also crucial for the growth of your business when it comes to future stages that you need to battle. It’s a core part of strategic planning for a small business, indeed any size business.
We’ve talked about the importance of a business plan multiple times recently as the cornerstone to achieving your ambitions. It will tell you the most effective and efficient order to do things in. For example, when a property is being built, the builders will always know that the foundation comes first, then walls, then the roof and so on. A business plan works in the same way.
But do you know how to write a business plan and what to put in it? In this article, we will discuss what makes a good business plan.
The Business Vision
Every single business needs a good vision statement. You need to write down what your idea of your business is, what goals you want to achieve in your first year, and then the years to come (3-5 years and beyond). Having these in place is a good starting point, and it gives you the foundation for a structured plan.
It is much easier to progress with something when everyone involved in the business has a clear understanding of the journey ahead, and what needs to be achieved, with a realistic timeframe.
What your business does and how it does it differently
This is where you need to outline:
- What products or services do you provide?
- What are the product and service features?
- What are the benefits of your products and services?
This ought to be clear and concise but it is also important to identify how your products and services are different to the competition. You may have something truly unique and new to the marketplace but many business’ offer something that on the face of it is already available on the market. So what makes your business different?
Who is your audience? The Marketing Plan
Once you have in place what your business idea is and what you want to deliver, you will then need to know who to target by doing some marketing research. Understanding who your potential customers are will be a crucial step in a business plan.
It will help tenfold when it comes to making marketing material further down the line so that everything is relevant for your target audience. It will also make sure that your marketing budget is being used correctly for the right people to deliver the best results i.e. achieve your business vision.
It would also be beneficial to have on record who your competition is, along with their strengths and weaknesses, so you know where you can improve on them.
Business staff, suppliers, equipment and premises
After you have your audience and business idea in place, knowing how to start up or grow the business in terms of staffing, suppliers, equipment and premises is the next key stage.
Setting out a realistic list of staff members you will require initially for specific roles, what suppliers you have access to, and how much equipment you need to buy will be important. For example – computers, desks, peripherals, stationery, technical tools and machines etc.
Searching for a suitable office or warehouse will also be an important part of this unless you and your staff are able to work completely from home.
Lastly, once you have everything in place, you will need to write down the estimated costs, along with your profit and loss forecasts for the years ahead.
This will give you a good indicator if investors are needed, or if you can fund the business yourself with current income from you and your family members. It will also set your marketing and sales targets, provide a good indication of the return on investment needed to make the business functional, profitable and thrive.
Help writing a Business Plan
Strategic planning for small businesses (and larger growing businesses) is key for growth. The points above are a few important areas that need to be considered when writing a business plan. However, to be done right, it needs to be completed in-depth so you can cover A-Z in detail.
Having a professionally written and well-detailed business plan will also help if you need to source potential investors to help fund your business’ growth.
Here at Growth Coach, we have over a decade of coaching experience and can assist you all the way through your business journey, and the strategic planning for each stage of your small or medium-sized business. From helping you write your business plan, through to ongoing coaching sessions to skyrocket your company.
Business coaching is highly recommended, especially for business owners who may only have the skill to do one job, rather than run a business as a whole. To learn more on this subject, click here.