a plan without a goal is just a wish - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What is so great about a business plan? A business plan will help you grow, remain competitive, keep you on track and motivated and will help you achieve your goals. That is what is so great about a business plan!
a business plan will support you when seeking finance
Big or small, new or old, if your business is seeking finance you want to be certain that the banks and other interested parties know why they should invest in your business (and you). You know that your business is brilliant, you know that your ideas are cutting edge and you know that you can make it work, others don't and they will only risk their money and time if they believe that as well.
A well developed business plan:
• lets others know you are serious and passionate about your business
• ensures that lenders and investors understand your business vision, ideas and ethos
• allows others to see your predicted profit and income streams (this is impotant when people make decisions about investing)
a business plan will keep you on track and your goals in sight
Staying on track can be difficult, especially when you have so many new and wonderful ideas that you want to implement. It can be easy to lose focus.
A business plan will give your business direction, naild down your objectives and help you picture your strategies that will be used as you work toward achieving your goals. A business plan will prepare you to manage those inevitable bumps in the road that you will encounter along the way. It will also ensure that you able able to use the resources you have and the energy you need in an effective and efficient way.
A business paln will:
• remind you of your goals and priorities
• gauge if your strategies are working
• give you a chance to adapt and respond to market changes
• let you be innovative when new opportunities present themselves
a business plan will keep you in control
It is important to be able to take a gian step back and have an honest and realistic look at your business and see what is working and what is not. There is always room for improvement.
Don't be afraid to ask other if they have any new ideas or where they think you could be doing things better. You need to be prepared to listen to the feed back, good and bad.
Business planning can seem to take up much of your already limited time and can be mind-boggling, but it should be looked at as an opportunity to put your thoughts and dreams for your business in writing. For those starting out a business plan will give you the chace to set your goals and miles stones and if you are already up and running in business it will let you see what is working and what is not.
It is your business so you should invest time into working toward your future and not worrying about it.
Preparing a business plan is an opportunity to:
• look at and learn about your industry, market and competition
• commit in writing where you are in the market and the direction you to go
• actively seek out the challenges you may face and work on strategies to sidestep or overcome them
• understand your business financial situation, don't ignore your cash-flow or break-even point
• be proactive and set goals you want to achieve and the timefrace for doing so. This wil give you something to measure your performance and success against
• take the time to look at how your business decisions will impact of how you use your resources and maintain your competitive edge
it is great to have a busiess plan but you need to keep it up dated
A business plan should grow and change with the business so it is important that is is updated and remains true to your business vision and ethos. Successful businesses will review and update their business plan whenever their circumstances.
how exciting, let's start putting together a business plan
It is exciting, this is your business, your vision and your oppurtunity to do what you have been talkiong about, so let's do it.
Writing a business plan will require dicipline, time and focus but don't let that put you off as the end result will be rewarding and worthwhile.
You don't need to have a lenghty and wordy document with charts and spreasheets created by experts (you can do that later if you like and I can show you how). When starting out this creating a complex business plan can be intimidating and off-putting, knowing ones stuff and putting in on paper is just as important as long as it gives you a clear and concise procerss to follow.
a few things to do before you start writing your business plan
Analyse your business idea (be honest)
• Is it viable?
• Is there demand for your product or service?
• Do you need to protect your ideas (intellectual property)?
• Do you and those you are working with have the necessary skills?
• Who are the competition?
• What does the business offer that is different to others already in the market?
• Do you have the funds to start a business?
Analys yourself (be brutally honest)
• Why have you decided to start a business?
• What are your business and person hopes and goals?
• What skills do you have?
• What income do you need and what would you like?
• What are the pluses and minuses to starting your own business?
• Have you identified any barriers to starting your business or helping it grow? Have you thought how you will overcome these?
• How will you leave the business (exit strategy, succession planning)
a few last minute tips
It is worth getting out there and talking to people who have been there and done that. Not everyone will share your vision and ethos (and some will tell you not to do it) but they will all have something to contribute that you can learn from. Find networking events that you can attend, this will ensure you keep your finger on the pulse and stay up to date and give you an oppurtunity to build contacts and promote your business. You can always learn something.
Seek out a mentor or business coach and they can work with you to help you understand the world of business and provide you with skills and support to grow and improve your business.
just before you go
• set aside enough time
• do your research
• set clear goals
• update your finances
• say what your business is about
• seek help and assistance