To have a truly successful business, an entrepreneur must take the time to create a comprehensive business plan. Business plans serve as a blueprint for the company in regards to goals. It can also give investors insight into the viability of the business. However, many first-time entrepreneurs struggle with creating a business plan. Several things must be considered when creating a business plan.
Research is Key
What is the market for your product or service? How big is the market? What is your break even point? Who will be your target customer? Who is the competition? These are just a few of the questions that must be answered before creating a business plan. The answers from these questions will come from research. Investors are going to want to know if you thought about these things, and the research will guide everything about your business, including mission, vision, values, and goals.
Have the Right Parts to the Plan
It is recommended that a business plan contains at a minimum the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Market Opportunities
- Competitive Analysis
- Management Team
- Financial Analysis
The summary is a brief outline of the company goals and the plan. It is the elevator pitch of the plan. It is the make or break section of the plan and should not be taken lightly. The company overview is a detailed look at the history and future direction of the company. The Market Opportunities section should give a detailed account of the market that the business is targeting. A Competitive Analysis looks at the competition in the market and details the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the business. There should also be detailed information on each of the management team (education, experience, etc.). Lastly, a complete financial analysis should be done that details sales projections, profits, and break-even points.
Explain Your “Why”
A business plan is nothing without the energy and passion of the owner to execute. This should be evident throughout the plan. Discuss your mistakes, experience, the problems you wish to solve with your business, and why it is important to you to solve those problems. This emotional connection will encourage others to believe in your plan.