Every successful organisation has one thing in common: a well-developed and extremely effective business plan.
A business plan is much more than just a document, it’s a full blown guide which outlines your company’s strategic objectives, which includes its financial objectives. It helps you examine emerging trends, make key business decisions and demonstrate how your firm operates and grows. The plan’s introduction usually introduces the executive summary, which provides the company’s vision and mission statement.
For many entrepreneurs, the writing of a business plan becomes a long process which they then outsource to others. Many entrepreneurs find this especially true for start-up companies. However, outsourcing such a critical document can often be a costly mistake. Not all entrepreneurs possess the necessary skills, expertise or resources to write an effective and persuasive business plan. Outsourcing the task is often the best option for inexperienced and smaller businesses that do not have the resources to create such a plan on their own.
Most business plans are written in standard legal language which most people can easily comprehend. Unfortunately, when entrepreneurs use “standard” business plans, they often inadvertently restrict themselves in their creative thinking abilities. They fail to take into account important factors that could significantly impact their cash-flow situation. As a result, their written document often contains many holes that could easily be plugged. In the following sections we will examine some of the most important factors that you should consider when you are writing your business plans.
Entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of competitive intelligence. Most entrepreneurs fail to realize that their competitors are always trying to find ways to become the very best. You can help to ensure that your business plans are more competitive by becoming aware of the skills and strategies of your potential competitors. By studying your competitors you will be able to create strategies that are designed to exploit the weaknesses and advantages of your competition.
10 essential components of a business plan
- Executive summary.
- Business description.
- Market analysis and strategy.
- Marketing and sales plan.
- Competitive analysis.
- Management and organization description.
- Products and services description.
- Operating plan
- Finance plan
- Contingency plan
Many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of diversifying their investment portfolio. As a small business development professional, I frequently hear entrepreneurs claim that they are unable to fund high risk ventures because they only have one investor or they are seeking investors from the same social or financial networks that they do.
While this may be true in some situations, it certainly does not create a diverse portfolio. By diversifying your portfolio you can increase the value of your assets and your net worth.
Often, the greatest strength of any business ideas lies in their simplicity. One of the keys to writing a good business plan is to focus on building a simple idea that solves a problem. The more complex your business idea the more likely you are to secure funding.
Some of the simplest, yet most successful business ideas include:
- Pet grooming,
- House cleaning,
- Internet consulting,
- Auto repair
- Personal Trainer
- Freelance Graphic Designer
- Life/ Career Coach
- Ecommerce Store Owner
- Travel Planner
- Home Inspector
- Property Manager
While securing investment for these types of simple home based business ideas is unlikely, securing funding for more sophisticated, technologically advanced home businesses is highly possible. Just make sure that you have the means to support yourself financially as you build your business.
Another important aspect of a well written business plan includes a detailed description of the markets or sectors that you intend to enter. This is often called “the big picture”, as it is the view of the entire organisation from the point of view of the customer or investor. A swot analysis or market research will help you determine what segments of the market to enter, the costs involved in establishing and maintaining a specific segment, and the long-term goals of the business.
Managing Your Business
Manging your business allows you the opportunity to try various things. The best part about business planning is that you can start off whenever you want. By taking the time to do a little business planning up front then there is no reason why you can’t take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves as you expand.
It’s never too early to start planning and once you have an idea in mind it’s never too late. You can keep your business running smoothly by carrying out basic marketing research as well as making sure that you are always on the look out for deals.
You will find that there are a number of different resources that you can turn to. Take the time to research online and you’ll discover a number of helpful sites. By using these resources you’ll be able to get free advice as well as useful tips. Keep track of blogs and other articles that discuss the topic as well as forums where you can connect with other business owners. With some hard work and dedication you will be able to start your own profitable business.
Remember that every business needs a solid foundation in place before they can become successful. Make sure that you start your business on the right foot by laying out a business plan that consists of a marketing strategy, financial forecasts, and a detailed description of each aspect of your business.
Be realistic and don’t try to make your business into something it isn’t. If you follow these simple rules then you will be able to succeed in whatever venture you choose. You will also find that the more you know about running your own business the more comfortable you will be with the entire process.
Hiring a business plan manager
Hiring a business plan manager can be a wise move on your part. After all, this professional helps you in formulating a strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. It is one thing to have an idea; it’s quite another to execute that idea. But not only that, a business plan management consultant can give you an effective way of understanding the whole picture so you can make the right moves toward your business goals. This includes understanding competitors and their business plans so you can come up with a game plan to counteract their strategies.
There are some important factors to consider when you hire a plan consultant to manage your business. For one, this professional should be a team player.
You might hire a marketing manager for the marketing aspect of your business but you shouldn’t hire a business plan consultant for the business planning aspect. Remember, your business is unique and different from all others. You need someone who understands this to truly understand what your business needs in order to grow. A good business plan analyst will help you understand how your business needs to be able to compete in today’s business environment.
When it comes to hiring the right manager for your business, you want to ensure that you do not just hire anyone off the streets. You need to make sure that you are meeting with a person and examining the person before you allow them to take on the responsibilities of running your business.
Make sure that you ask for references from previous managers and ask each of those references what their opinion was of the individuals that they employed. If you find that you like the answers you get, then you should proceed to the next step of hiring a business plan consultant. However, remember that the final decision of whether or not you should hire a business plan consultant should not be made until you are satisfied that the individual is the right fit for the job.
There are two primary reasons why you would choose to hire a business plan manager.
First, by allowing the business to be managed by a professional that has the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary for the task, you are insuring that your business will be able to meet its full potential.
Second, by allowing the business owner to hire a business plan manager, they can spend more time focusing on the business aspects of their business rather than taking care of the day-to-day operations.
Both of these reasons are excellent reasons for hiring a business plan manager, but they do not cover everything there is to know about hiring a business plan manager.
The most important characteristic that you should look for when hiring a business plan manager is experience. There are a variety of different types of business plans, and you will want to make sure that the business plan manager you select has experience in the type of business you have.
For example, if you run a small business, you may wish to seek out someone who has experience running businesses of a certain size. However, if you run a very large business, you may require a business plan that is very detailed and elaborate. This is the type of experience that you will want to seek out when looking to hire a business plan manager.
Business Plan Management Software
The 5 best business plan software options
Business plan software is designed to help business owners create a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines their goals and strategies for success. Writing a good business plan is not only necessary for getting a loan or securing a general commercial loan, but it is also a critical step in negotiating contracts, setting up operations, and overall direction of the company. Writing a business plan can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you have never written one before. Fortunately, the right business plan software can make the entire process of writing your business plan much easier.
Like most business plan software solutions, though, there are also a large variety of business plan software choices out there each with a different range of features, price, and user experience. Many of these programs are designed to do the same basic functions; they are all designed to handle financial projections, budgeting, technical support, marketing, accounting, human resource management, and so on. However, not all of these software packages are built with financial projections in mind, so some are better at handling different types of businesses than others.
For example, some financial models can handle operations, finances, accounts receivable, inventory, financing, payroll, accounts payable, and so on. Some financial models are better for building large-scale corporations than are others, so before you choose which software package to use, take a moment to think about the types of businesses you run and what features you need from your software.
Another thing to think about is whether or not your business plan needs to have key features like expense estimates, market analysis, funding sources, profit and loss prediction, and market forecasts. Some of the more advanced financial planning software offers key features like customer and industry information, tax information, business formation assistance, and a portfolio manager.
The more features you find in your software, the better off you will be. In order to get the best business plan template, make sure you take a moment to think about what you expect out of your package and also think about the key features you need.
Writing a good business plan is like writing a novel. It doesn’t have to be complex. At its heart, your plan needs to define where you are today, where you plan to go and how you’ll get there. Writing a good business plan doesn’t guarantee success, but it does go a long way towards minimizing the chances of failure. If you’re serious about building a successful business, then you owe it to yourself to start writing a good business plan before you start spending money on any business-related expenses.