What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a blueprint of your business. It is a detailed plan from which all your other plans should be developed.
Why do You Need a Business Plan?
There are many reasons why you should write a formal business plan. Putting your plans down on paper will enable you to do the following:
- Take an objective look at your entire venture.
- Operate, manage and develop your business in an organized fashion.
- Clearly outline your goals and expectations.
- Evaluate risks associated with your business venture.
- Develop your marketing strategy for your product or service.
- Develop fall-back plans if changes occur in your business or in the marketplace.
A well-prepared business plan will help you obtain financing for your new venture. Your plan will show that you:
- know your customers, competition and market,
- are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and
- recognize factors which could affect the growth of your company.
Components of a Business Plan
Table 1 lists the contents of a good business plan.
We are going to look at each section of the business plan, starting with the Company Profile. We will leave the preparation of the Executive Summary until the last, as it is a summary of all the other sections. Upon completion, the Executive Summary will be placed at the beginning of your business plan.
Table 1: Business Plan Contents
|Cover Page||Identification of your business and purpose of document|
|Table of Contents||List of each section of document and page number|
|A. Executive Summary||Summary of the major contents of your business plan|
|B. Company (Business) Profile||Detailed overview of your planned company, products and services|
|C. Objectives and Achievement Plans||Clear, measurable, specific, and achievable statements of what you intend to accomplish and how you will proceed.|
|D. Human Resources||Overview, organizational chart, job descriptions and profile of owner(s)|
|E. Products/Services||Detailed description of products and/or services which you plan to offer|
|F. Supplier Relationships||List of your primary and secondary sources of supply|
|G. Markets||Identification of your markets based on your market research|
|H. Territory||Description of area(s) in which you plan to conduct business|
|I. Strategic Alliance||Identification of potential strategic partners|
|J. Competition||Identification of your major competitors and description of their strengths and weaknesses|
|K. Advertising and Promotion||List of methods of advertising you plan to use, frequency of use, and associated budget|
|L. Financials||Revenue forecast and financial statements|
|M. Appendices||Any supporting documents|