How to write a business plan is a question that has been a topic of discussion. We all know you can’t run a successful business without having a business plan in place, but not everyone knows the process of how to create one. Business plans often sound or look intimidating which should not be the case. Questions such as how do you even start or what should I include are some of the questions that make people stray away in coming up with a business plan.
However, it is good to note down that for one to a have a successful business, you need to have a solid business plan in place. This article explains how to get started when you want to write a business plan using seven simple tasks of creating one in addition to how to get started right away with your new plan in place!
The first part in developing or writing a business plan is defining your business. There are several aspects that come in tandem with defining your business. You cannot write a business plan if you do not have an idea of what your business entails. There are many business owners who have ended up counting losses due to having not established what there business really is about. Through defining your business, an owner is able to establish the true sense of direction of your business enabling you to be able to develop and realize success.
Defining your business assists you to identify the reason why your business exists in the current market. You should include aspects such as highlighting the problems that you want to address, how your product or service tend to improve the overall need that already exists in the market by other providers. Another key element that you can use to define your business is the undertaking a unique value preposition of your business.
A unique value preposition assists in differentiating your organizations or company from the available competitors in the same industry. Subsequently, one is able to establish qualities such as prices, processes, and convenience.
Upon establishing the above-mentioned elements, it is vital that you incorporate them into a mission statement. A company’s mission statement is a statement that offers a concise summary of what the company tends to achieve in the long run.
The second task in writing your plan is to perform industry research and a target market. Market research is defined as the process of gathering data to learn more about a specific target demographic and also its consumers. This assists the business to market itself even more effectively in the highly competitive industry. Undertaking market research is a vital attribute to a business as it enables a company to be equip itself with valuable information regarding the target market.
With such information in hand, a company can develop products and services that are relatable to the market need. Additionally, a company is able to create and conduct market research that directly appeals to the intended customers through market research. There are several types of market research that a company can indulge into in accordance to the business strategy and the benefits that come with the type of market research:
There is a good reason to why a company needs to establish its set of business goals. So, what are business goals? Business goals are a set of predetermined targets that a company or business tend to achieve in a designated timeline. These business goals can either be short-term or long-term(Laoyan, 2022). Setting clear and distinct business goals usually influence motivation and also increases the overall performance. Additionally, setting business goals can define success, connect your work to goals, keep teams aligned, maintain accountability, and inform decision making. To ensure that your set clear and distinct business goals, you ought to:
A market strategy is defined as a long-term plan for achieving a set of business’s goals and objectives through understanding the needs of the intended customers and creating a unique and sustainable competitive advantage(Optimizely, 2022). Through developing a market strategy, a company is able to encompass through aspects such as determination of customers to making decisions such as channels to use in reaching customers.
A market strategy is important as it can help you sets the direction for not only your marketing related activities but also the business as a whole. It will assist you to be in sync with the business’s customer base in addition to developing the right and desired products for the customers, and lastly determining how to communicate information in relation to the products and services. Below are tips on how to create a successful marketing strategy:
Set a list of definable business goals which should be measurable and achievable.
Identify and research the target market you want to pursue to identify the market size, growth potential, market trends, competitors, demographic characteristics, and the customer behavior.
Focus on the 7 P’s which are the product, price, promotion, place, people, packaging, and process.
Develop product plans which will best serve the customer needs.
Establish the key benefits that your product or service will develop to the customers.
Craft your messaging and positioning inline with your key benefits.
Define your marketing mix to determine how you reach your target audience in terms of channels and activities.
A financial projection is defined as an estimate of future financial outcomes for a company. It plays a vital part of the annual budget process. Financial projection or forecasting is an important element of business planning as it assists the owner and all involved stakeholders to make better financial decisions. To develop a clear and feasible understanding of the financial situation of your business situation you ought to consider factors such as market prices, service demand, and cost of production. Below are some of the benefits that come with having financial projections:
Your business plan should have an executive summary. An executive summary of a business plan is depicted as an overview of your business plan document. It summarizes the key points of a document which then saves them time for the full business plan document. Think of this as an advanced organizer for the person intending to read the document.
In this section your business plan summary for your company, it is important to note down some key information or sections for the reader to know in advance. These sections include:
You need to describe the need or the opportunity.
You need to explain or give directive on how your business will serve the market.
A target market section that describes the customer base that you are intending to serve.
This is a section that ought to describe the products and services in addition to what will make them appealing to the target market.
A marketing and sales strategy to outline your plan for the company’s product and services marketing.
This section describes your company’s competition in addition to the strategy you are going to use to penetrate in the market.
Financial analysis section to summarize the financial plan in terms of projections.
Owners and staff section to provide details of all the key members venturing in your business(Ward, 2022)
An implementation plan that outlines the schedule for undertaking the business from the initial stages to the opening of the business.
This last section of your business plan is to help you provide a deep summary for your business to the reader. After you have formulated your business plan document through the step by step guidelines provided above you’ll want to have a different opinion of your plan. It is important that you get to have a second and third opinion on the document from an expert. This feedback will help you to get a different perspective that is not self-biased on things that you might have missed during the entire process. Upon receiving the feedback, it is up to you to revise the document accordingly before presenting the business plan.
With the above-mentioned business plan step by step guide, you are expected to now have adequate information that can assist in your business plan development.
Laoyan, S. (2022). Setting business goals: The first step to a successful business. Asana.com. https://asana.com/resources/business-goals-examples
Optimizely. (2022). Marketing Strategy. Optimizely.com. https://www.optimizely.com/optimization-glossary/marketing-strategy/#:~:text=A%20marketing%20strategy%20is%20a,use%20to%20reach%20those%20customers.
Ward, S. (2022). Executive Summary of the Business Plan. The balance money. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/executive-summary-of-the-business-plan-2948012
Related Article: How to Write an Engaging and Informative Book