HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

There are quite a number of reasons why one would write a business plan. The way you write your business plan is totally dependent on what the purpose is. It can go up to 80 pages, also depending on the content and what is there to include about your product. Whether it is to have guidance, funding or partnership, the primary elements of a business plan include the business concept, the market as well as the finance. Once you have adequate information and plans based on that, your business plan is just about complete. It is also a good idea to use different types of visual aids in your business plan, including graphs, tables, timelines, mind maps and more.

HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Here is how you can structure your plan

1. Cover page:
-As they always say, the first impression is ought to be the best impression. This is the first part of the business plan, and it should be in such a way that it intrigues the reader, and make them enthusiastic about reading the rest of the document. This part alone must be constructed in such a way that it indirectly says something about your product/brand. In essence, this is one of the most basic, yet most impactful parts of the business plan as it determines the mental state, the attitude and the expectations of your reader as they read your business plan. If it is not as appealing, they might not even read it, so it`s best to invest quite a bit of work here. It must include the following:

* Your Logo (The symbol that signifies your product.)
*Your Vision Statement (Where you see your product in the long-term.)
*Your Mission Statement (How you plan to achieve the vision.)

2. Table of Context:
-This is where you have your index, where you write references to all the pages in the business plan. It is the last thing you are going to write, however, once you put the whole business plan together, it should be placed after the cover page. The reader will use this as a guide just in case they are looking for specific parts of the business plan.

3. Executive Summary:
-An overview of what is going to be in the business plan is supposed to be placed here. It also includes a value proposition which is a description and summary of your business model. It is essential to emphasize the business opportunity you have spotted as relevant to your business model so that the reader can understand and see the opportunity, as well as see it in the shoes of your target market. EG- (Industry, Market Description etc.)

4. Strategy:
-This is what I have always preferred to call “Plan of Progression.” This is not always a compulsory part of a business plan, however, it can do magic to the reader’s confidence in your concept. For the reader to have unbreakable faith in the success of your product, they need to be convinced that you know which steps to take therefrom. This is the part where you expand on your mission statement, and state which basic steps and strategies are you going to use, and how you are going to implement them to secure the success of your business. Technically, it is like giving the reader a taste of what is going to be in your action plan. It is very much advisable to make use of this part of the business plan to make it convincing enough.

5. Team:
-There is a quote that states: “Teamwork makes the dream work.” It is best to involve the structure of your team in your business plan, as this is what most business plan utilizers want to know. You need to understand the importance of your team in the business, as that is a very critical factor. The following is what you can include:

*The founders of the business, as well as their personal experience and credentials.
*The managers of each business department and function, as well as their experience
*The position descriptions for all key positions, as well as the value each position brings to the functioning of the business.

6. Marketing Plan:

-Marketing is the most challengingly diverse department of any business. It includes branding, distributing and advertising. The challenging part about marketing is getting your target market on board, hereby it is very crucial that you be clear and precise in terms of the way you plan to do your marketing, which is also very dependent on the type of business in terms of industry. Research is a compulsory aspect before dealing with this part of the business plan. Be sure to include the statistics along with the marketing strategies you have formulated in this part of the business plan. To be sure of what to include and what not to include, do thorough research on the following:

*Target Market Detail and Description (Compulsory)
*Market Segmentation (Compulsory)
*Population of Target Market (Compulsory)
*Product Policy (Dependent)
*Distribution Policy (Dependent)
*Pricing Policy (Compulsory)
*Communication Policy (Compulsory)
*Marketing Strategies (Advisable)

7. Operational Plan:
-In this ever-changing world, the way you plan to run your business may be different. Well, no law says that is a problem, as long as the way you run it is lawful. In this part of the business plan, you need to state the overall structure of your business, as well as how it is going to operate. The micro-environment of your business is what you should thoroughly lay out here, while also stating ways you will keep up with the external aspects of the business. In summary, this is the way you plan to run the business on a day to day basis. Things you may include:

-All the business departments that you have established (Between 1 and 8)
-The people/organizations involved
-The organizational resources
-The organizational culture
-The organizational structure
– Operational Systems

8.) Financial Plan:
-The finances of the business must be laid out here. It is important to reflect on the business`s current financial position, as well as the plans with regards to anything that has to do with finance. Examples of what can be included are the following: (Depending on the purpose of the business plan)

*Capital Requirements
*Planned Financial Year
*Projected Monthly Expenses
*Share/Stakeholders
*Budget Plans
*Projected Statements
*Projected Incomes
*Financial Managers
*Bookkeeping systems
*Business bank accounts

9. Appendix:
-It is essential that you put all the business`s legal documents as part of the appendix. Documents such as your registrations certificates and bank statements are good examples of what you can put. It can be any legal document, as long it does not compromise confidentiality. It is best to include as much as possible. Contact details should also be put here, as well as such as websites. 

As much as it is exciting to go on a business venture, it requires quite a lot of time invested. It is advisable to do as much research as possible on your product, as well as on the above-mentioned factors. Like the saying, the more you put in it, the more you get out. One thing you should never compromise on is the quality of your work. This is a journey, and the best is yet to come. Apply the above, and do best.

*THE FRUITS OF A GOOD BUSINESS PLAN LIES IN ACTION FOLLOWED BY PERFORMANCE*

 

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