You need a business plan, but you wonder how to write a business plan. Kuza Biashara has put together some useful guidelines that will help in writing a business plan.
Some of the important contents of a business plan should be:
Your mission statement should be of 8 to 25 words and it should answer why you are doing the business. Most simple answer simple is to define why your business gets you out of the bed in the morning.
It is advisable to have a list of what you want such as money, numbers, hours, percentages, etc. The main idea behind goal setting is to find goals that are big, but not so big that they bog you down. It is not always important to realise all your goals. But if you pick worthy goals that you can accomplish, then you can set new goals for yourself and this is bound to boost your confidence.
Focus on the message you want to send out. Explain what problems your business solves or what solutions you can offer. The structure of a business plan must answer this briefly but clearly. Your business can have more than one elevator speech depending on your target audience. You might have a different pitch for your potential customers vis-a-vis your investors. Make sure you align your speech to your mission and goals.
The Financial Plan
Set your financial goals as per the budget defined in the earlier section of your plan. Focus on what you want to spend on and how much money you hope to bring in, including how much you would want in profits. This will help you in setting your prices rather than letting the competition decide what prices you set. Be clear about how much you want and where you want to be.
The Marketing Calendar/ Plan
It will help you if you can make a list of things that you can do to make people reach out to you that also fit into your budget. Two areas that you can work on are e-marketing and testimonials. E-marketing strategy includes using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your business as well as spending time on search engine optimization and even a newsletter. You should also consider turning your early customers into promotional agents for your business by taking pictures of the work you did for them and eventually reaching out to their peers and colleagues. Instead of waiting for the customers to come calling, set a timeline for these activities. Follow this up with action if you want to attract investors. They would be keen to what plans you have to attract potential customers.
The Organization Chart
This chart shows who you plan to assign tasks to in your business. Even if your business runs on sole proprietorship, you still won’t be able to do everything by yourself. Filling out an org chart lets you see where you can reach out for help.
The Top Projects List
Here, make a list of five projects that will help your new business move in the direction of fulfilling its mission and goals. The difference between a ‘to-do’ item and a project is that a project has many to-dos associated with it. For example, sending flowers to your mother is a to-do activity. On the other hand, writing an operations manual for how someone can answer the phone is a project. Projects should primarily focus on solving a problem or capitalizing on an opportunity. Do have a mix of easier and harder projects as this will build your confidence and help you progress. Do assign the name of a project to the employees working on it. This will make your life easier and it will also help you define each employee’s responsibility.
The Executive Summary
Once you have nailed down the details of the plan, you need to spend less than a page answering the key questions about your business. What, why, for whom, how much, by when, and where. Think of what you would say if a potential investor asked ,‘so, what do you do?’ If your Elevator Speech is a 25-second summary of your business, then the Executive Summary is a two-minute version.
Keep At It
After you are done, go back to each section and try to revise the answers, tweaking them where necessary. There is no such thing as a good business plan, similarly there is no bad business plan. The importance of a business plan lies in identifying what you want and to help you take inspired action in the direction you want to go.
The steps in writing a business plan must serve as a guide to your business. No business is small to have a business plan. Customers and clients don’t consider a business as small. This is after a way to communicate about your product or services. A start with business plan will lead to miles of business.