If you are like most people who get little far in the business planning process, you have some questions right about now!
You may even be at the hand-wringing stage!!
Well, put your mind to rest because I am going to answer the most of them for you. For rest, DM me :)
Do I really need to include all the sections?
Your Business Plan should include only what's important to you and your company. If your plan is short - or written mostly for your own purposes - you can dispose of the Executive Summary for example. And if you are a Solopreneur, you probably do not need a section describing the organization of your business (unless you want to give yourself a plan on how to get yourself organized!)
For most businesses, however, the more complete your business plan is, the better off you are..
For a Solopreneur operation, you may figure out that you can do without the Company Overview Section because you already know what your business is all about, right? You will find out that by compiling this section; by putting your Vision, Mission, Values, Product Offering, and Unique Attributes into words - you uncover new ideas about what you really plan to do with your business.
And that can be extremely valuable exercise for any company, no matter how big it is!
Do I really need to write it all down?
The one word answer is "Yes".
Creating a written plan forces you to face tough issues that you may otherwise ignore, such as:
How big is my Market?
Why will Customers come to me and not my Competition?
How much Money do I honestly need to get to get the Business off ground?
When can I realistically expect to make a Profit?
What other opportunities can I take advantage of?
What threatens my business?
By putting your thoughts down on a paper, you give each question the attention it deserves!
When you write your Business Plan, you define your Customers and your Strategy for reaching out to them; you also analyze your Competition and how your offerings compare to theirs; you uncover market opportunities to seize and threats to buffer yourself against; and you establish a set of Goals and Objectives - along with your Action Plan achieving Success.
And when you are done, you have it all in the writing for quick, easy & frequent reference..
How long should my plan be?
The simple answer - As long as it needs to be and not a single word longer!
A Business Plan as thick as a Stephen King Novel does not impress anyone. In fact, it is likely to scare them off. What really impresses Investors, Clients, Employees, and anyone else who may read your Plan is clear, straightforward, and to-the-point thinking.
Do not go overboard in the cutting room or leave anything important out of your Plan purely for the sake of keeping it brief, but do condense every section down to its most important points.
Even comprehensive plans usually fit on 20 to 30 pages, plus appendixes..
And that makes many 100 page Business Plans about 75 pages too long!!
Buying into the value of Business Planning
The time you will invest in your Business Plan will pay off many times over. Following are some of the most obvious benefits you'll gain from business planning:
A clear statement of your business Mission and Vision.
A set of values that can help you steer your business through times of trouble.
A description of your Business Model, or how you plan to make Money and stay in Business.
A blueprint you can use to focus your energy and keep your company on track.
A clear eyed analysis of your Industry,, including opportunities and threats.
A portrait of your potential customers and their Buying Behaviours.
A rundown of your major Competitors and your strategies for facing them.
An honest assessment of your Company's strengths and weaknesses.
A Roadmap and timetable for achieving your Goals and Objectives.
A description of the Products and Services you offer.
An explanation of your Marketing Strategies.
An analysis of your Revenues, Costs, and Projected Profits.
An Action Plan that anticipates potential detours or hurdles you my encounter.
Benchmarks you can use to track your Performance and make mid-course corrections.
A 'Handbook' for new Employees describing who you are and what your Company is all about.
A 'Resume' you can use to introduce your business to suppliers, vendors, lenders and others.
It does not matter whether you are starting up or scale-up, you will need a Business Plan.
If you want to get a customized Business Plan for your business, reach out to me at email@example.com