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Writing A Solid Business Plan

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

A solid Business Plan is like a map. It is the blueprint of your organisation that guides you through each stage of starting and managing your enterprise. Its main function is to clarify the centre purpose of your business and how you are going to run it. The business plan will go in depth into your sources of capital, products and services, target markets, business strategies, location, employees, partners, and the management team.


One of the most important qualities of a good business plan is realism. When creating it be thorough and down to earth in your approach, and be as conservative as possible. Many new businesses underestimate things like expenses and the amount of time it takes to accomplish basic tasks such as building a website, building a strong team or getting a new product ready for the market, and they may also overestimate demand for their product or service.



There is the debate of whether a business plan is an absolute must or you can get started and be successful without one. The answer depends on how confident you are in your great business idea that you want to jump right in and how organised you are in terms of executing it. If you already have a clear plan in your mind along with the steps you need to take and the means to take them, you may not need to create a 20+ page informal business plan after all.


On the other hand, if your idea lacks clarity and you, like most, are considering raising capital, it would be better if you come up with a solid business plan. The good news is that you can sit down and create a business plan in a couple of days. It doesn’t have to be super extensive as long as it is coherent and you present all your main points as outlined in the following sections.


1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Executive Summary is a brief presentation of the company's purpose and goals. This is where you capture the reader’s attention be explaining the specifics of your business.


A good executive summary includes an outline of objectives, a thorough description of the market, a brief description of products and services, a high-level justification for viability, a snapshot of growth potential, and an overview of capital requirements.


Be sure to include what makes your business unique and capture why you feel it will succeed. The executive summary is often the make-or-break section of your business plan.


2. MARKET ANALYSIS

Market research is critical to business success. In here you want to present a thorough analysis of the market in order to prove that there is a need and target audience for your products and services.


This is a great way to validate your business idea as well. Also, your analysis should go further – great products are fantastic, but there still must be a market for those products (e.g. Lamborghinis are awesome, but there are not many likely customers in an ordinary town).


Be sure to clarify who you wish to serve along with some detailed statistics that describe them, their interests, what products and services they buy, and what are their needs and wants.


3. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Next you will go into more detail about your products and services. Describing how the company's products and services will differ from the competition is critical. Most people tend to start with this step, especially when they don’t consider making an actual business plan. However, it is best to have it here after you have covered your bases in the previous steps.


Discuss what makes your product and/or service unique, how you plan to execute it in a competitive marketplace and whether you would need to patent, trademark or copyright anything. Do go into particulars if you are planning for the blue ocean strategy (i.e. creating a new market for your business).


4. SALES AND MARKETING

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but customers must actually know those products and services exist. That's why marketing plans and strategies are critical to business success. However, do not simply plan to spend money on a variety of advertising efforts for different audiences or markets. Do your homework and create a Smart Marketing Program.


The basic steps involved in creating your marketing plan include focus on your target market, evaluate your competition, consider your brand, and focus on the benefits and differentiation.


This is also a great place to mention various different business costs you will have so the capital providers can know why you need money to support your company. This is equally essential for you and any prospective partners or investors.


5. COMPETITION

Every business has competition. In fact, small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to competition, especially when new companies enter a marketplace. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competition is critical to making sure your business survives and grows.


Therefore, you must conduct a comprehensive analysis of your competition and include in it both your current competition and potential competitors who might enter your market.


6. OPERATIONS

The next step in creating your business plan is to develop an Operations Plan that will serve your customers, keep your operating costs in line, and ensure revenue and profitability. Your operations plan should detail strategies for managing, staffing, manufacturing, and inventory management – everything involved in operating your business on a day-to-day basis.


Fortunately, most entrepreneurs and business owners have a better handle on their operations than on any other aspect of their business. After all, most budding entrepreneurs spend a lot of time thinking and planning about how they will run and grow their businesses.


7. ORGANISATONAL STRUCTURE

When it comes to talk about your organisation, present about how your business will operate and is structured. Who is at the company helm and why, who are the other executives, and what is the structure of the management team. Also, introduce the board of directors and company advisors, as well as any strategic partnerships.


This is a great section to answer all of those questions and map out how you might expect your organisation to grow in the future, and which roles you will have and need.


8. FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS

The Financial Projections section is where you get to crunch numbers and have fun with them. Map out the financial progress you plan to make with your business over the next 4-6 years. Include sales goals and revenue projections, and, also, you might want to specify here how much you would need from an investor or a business loan to bring those objectives to fruition.


A business plan can be a crucial tool to help you get organised and perform necessary research before moving forward with your new venture. It is a great way to get crystal clear on your goals and intentions so you can focus in on carrying out your plans and being successful.

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