How to Create a Business Plan
Business plans are for those who plan to go in to business or are in a business already. Starting a new business also needs planning, time management, scheduling and organizing to make it a success. Business plans are made so that there is some direction to your work and you don't go "off track"; get bogged down with details that can wait etc.
A business plan gives you a plan of action that you can use to meet your requirements. Creating a business plan involves a lot of points that must be factored in. There are some things that are common to almost all business plans like projecting cash flow, marketing plans etc. But each business is different and so is each business plan. What suits one may not suit the other. There is no master plan that one can use. A good business plan is like a good outfit that highlights your best features.
Before you create a business plan you have to plan the plan. The plan has to take in to account your goals and objectives, where you want to be, say, 3 years from now, what steps have you thought of to get to that goal etc. This is more so if you are starting a new business. There are many decisions to be made like your business strategy down to the color of the paper. You will be accountable to the business plan you present so you have to be very clear about what your plan is going to say and how.
Basically there are four types of plans, the mini plan, the electronic plan, the working plan and the presentation plan. Each has their own pros and cons. Key issues have to be addressed in all types of plans and these would consist of
- A business concept,
- Specific financing needs,
- A marketing plan and
- Important financial statements, especially regarding cash flow, income projection and balance sheet.
- Is there going to be a partner or investor?
- Any employees?
- Your own role... hands-on manager or just supervisory
- Financing... what kind?
- Is your product a niche market product or a broad spectrum service?
- Are you considering expansion?
- Is the plan going to help you raise money?
- Will it help bring in talented employees?
- Will it double as a presentation plan which you show to suppliers or prospective clients?