The Basics of Writing a Business Plan
Below is a basic framework for writing a business plan.
Ask For Help
Help can be as easy as contacting:
Books and websites.
You will be surprised as to how much advice is out there. Remember many people have done this before. No sense in trying to reinvent the wheel.
Follow a Framework
Having a framework or outline can make the plan so much easier. The three parts to your plan are:
Where you are now.
Where you intend to go.
How you are going to get there.
Tell the Reader Where You Are Now
In the first section you want to show where your business is now. These are the main areas to cover:
Location and premises.
Your product or service.
Provide an insight into each part of the business so that the people reading your plan know how the business looks now. If you are just starting up provide an idea of how your business will look once you get going.
Tell the Reader Where You Intend To Be
Having given an overview of your business, now is the time to let the reader know where you want to be. The main points to cover are:
Your objectives and goals.
State what you want - a loan or overdraft for example.
Explain why you need and what it will be used for.
Tell the Reader How You Are Going To Get There
It’s all very well promoting your idea and business but the important point is how you are going to get there. Here are the key points to cover:
Additional resources needed to meet your objectives and goals.
Your contribution in terms of cash or equipment.
Security you can offer to support your request for financing.
Profit and loss and cash flow forecast to show that you plan to make money and that you can pay back the loan.
Provide Some Supporting Information and Evidence
Your plan will have contained a lot of information, so it is helpful to include supporting documentation to provide more background. Placing these additional items as an appendix ensures that the flow of the plan has not been affected by additional information.
What sort of items could you include?
Letter of support from your Accountant.
Confirmation of pending orders from customers.
If you are purchasing a property, you could include the sales particulars.
Independent industry surveys showing that your sector is doing well.
If you are buying machinery or equipment include quotations.
Ask Someone to Review It
When you are totally immersed in a task you can easily miss errors. Ask someone to review your plan to ensure there are no mistakes (spelling or grammatical errors - don’t rely on spell check!) Does it all make sense? Have you been logical in your arguments?
Get the Presentation Right
After having spent a lot of time and effort on the content don’t spoil it all with poor presentation! Here are some tips:
Get the plan typed to make it look more professional.
Make sure all the papers are clean and that there are no dirt marks or coffee stains! Use good quality paper.
Purchase a classy folder or binder to put your plan in (paper clips or staples may not portray the right image!)
Don’t forget to include all your contact details.
So that’s it! Follow these simple steps and you’ll quickly have a polished business plan written and ready to go.