How to Write a Business Plan

The bedrock of a successful startup or Business is its plan. It doesn’t matter if it is written on a hard paper, typed somewhere in your laptop, your phones note pad or figured out in your head. No one starts a project or business without having a plan. Having a plan is like a guide or road map towards a targeted destination. It helps one know the right steps to take towards reaching a targeted goal.

A Business Plan is a written document outlining and describing in details how a business, usually a startup will achieve its goals. This plan comprises of the marketing, financial, managerial plans, etc., expected to help grow the business towards its expected outcome. However, lots of business plans are unrealistic because they don’t capture in details the entirety of the business plan that helps keep the business on course. Not stating in clear terms the focus of the business, its structure, strategy and the plans for success both now and in the future will affect the managerial process of the Business.

What Is A Business Plan?

Importance of a Business Plan

  1. To raise money for your business
  2. For good decision making
  3. Identification of weakness
  4. For communication of ideas to potential stakeholders

Contents of a Realistic Business Plan

COVER PAGE

A Business Plan document must have a cover page. A cover page has the name of the business, slogan (if any), and name of the owner of the startup or entrepreneur. Some people also add their emails or phone numbers to the cover page.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This a summary of the Business. This should be written in a manner that clearly shows the core of the Business and the details (in summary) of the business plan. Anyone reading it should be able to understand the concept or the idea of the business.

INTRODUCTION

This is an overview of the business. A description of the business and the reasons for venturing into the business must be captured in a concise manner. Furthermore the vision and mission statement alongside the objectives and goals of the business must be stated outrightly.

PRODUCT/SERVICE

Describe the product or service you intend to offer. A display of the knowledge of the service or product to be offered encourages stakeholders to consider the business plan.

INDUSTRY/MARKET ANALYSIS

Every business or startup already has an existing industry that it falls under. Depending on the product or service to be rendered, the industry might not be popular but a background knowledge of the industry must be displayed. Also, a market analysis of the industry must be shown. (This is not really important).

COMPETITION

State your competitors. Also highlight what they are not doing well and provide a different approach that gives you an advantage over them.

OPERATION PLAN

If there are operational requirements for the business then they should be stated here. Be it human resources, the strategies to apply when delivering your product or service.

MARKETING PLAN

What awareness will you be creating for your product? How will you be reaching out to potential clients and retaining customers? That needs to be explained here.

MANAGEMENT PLAN

If the business employs people then there should be a plan showing how the daily activities of the business will be managed.

FINANCIAL PLAN

This is essential to the document. Financial implications must be carefully stated. Include running cost, personnel cost, production cost, expected profit and also financial projections reflecting future cost and a possible increase in profit from future cost.

Writing a business plan isn’t simple. It requires a lot of analysis and hard nut cracking. However, it is a small price to pay for the success of your startup or business.

I’m rooting for you.

Abigail Archibong

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