Writing Business Plan

Writing business plans is like creating the crucial roadmap you draw when starting a business. An unknown author said: "When you fail to plan you plan to fail." The biggest reason for failing to plan is the perception that one doesn’t have enough time. Unfortunately for those who think that way, they will pay many times later on in terms of time spent for their failure to find time to write business plans.

The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show them that you have written a great business plan. Make sure that your business plan is clear, focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen. Your written business plan is like your calling card; it will get you in the door where you'll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your plan into action.

Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business, your plan will serve as a road map for your business. It is not a static document that you write once and put away. You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track, and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business evolves.

From India, Indore

Purpose of a Written Business Plan

Writing business plans for your startup business has several purposes in addition to the fact that you are building the road map for every facet of your startup business:

• The planning process for a new business (thinking, exploring, researching and discussing) is a crucial step in starting your own business. A business plan ensures that you actually do the necessary preparation.

• There will be interested parties who are going to want to see your business plan. Among them will be potential partners, providers of equity capital and lenders. You must answer for yourself the difficult questions they will ask. The business plan is your way of doing that.

• A business plan should make obvious any weaknesses you may encounter once you start your business. The act of researching, thinking about, and writing business plans will force you to look at all your facts, your assumptions, and all your projections in a methodological and thorough manner. It’s better to anticipate and plan for these weaknesses before you actually encounter them and are managing the crises.

• You will show your business plan or parts of it to consultants, others in the industry, potential suppliers, and other experts. Your plan can be a basis for further ideas and new options you or they may come up with.

From India, Indore
Elements of a Business Plan

There is no one fixed way to write a business plan. The nature of the business, its state of development, the need for outside capital and other factors will determine the exact outline of the plan and will also determine how specific the plan must be.

However, there are elements of a plan that are universal:

• Your business concept. This is the concept you came up with in the Small Business Ideas section. Go back to it if you aren’t entirely sure that you have picked well.

• Supply and demand for your product or service. What is the niche you are filling? How large is it? How will your customers find you? What about competition, today and in the future? What is your competitive advantage?

• The management structure you anticipate. Who are the key players? What is their experience in business? What is their experience in the industry? Will you have employees who complement your strengths and make up for your weaknesses?

• The financing for your startup. What is your overhead? What are your fixed costs and your variable costs? Where is your break-even point. What will be your cash burn rate? If these concepts are foreign to you now, you should be an expert by the time the business plan is written.

As you write your business plan, you will rework your plan again and again. Give yourself several weeks to formulate your business plan.

From India, Indore
Business Plan Outline

The following outline can be used to write a plan for most small businesses:

I) Executive Summary

A) Objectives

B) Mission

C) Keys to Success

II) Company Summary

A) Company Ownership

B) Start-up Summary

C) Company Locations

III) Products or Services

A) Product/Service Description

B) Competitive Comparison

C) Sales Literature

D) Fulfillment and Delivery

E) Technology to Support Sales

F) Future Products/Services

IV) Marketing Plan

A) Market Segmentation

B) Target Market Segment Strategy

C) Target Market Analysis

D) Competition and Buying Patterns

E) Main Competitors

F) Distribution

G) Business Participants, Partners, Affiliates

V) Strategy and Implementation Summary

A) Pricing Strategy

B) Sales Strategy and Sales Forecasts

C) Milestones

D) Strategic Alliances

VI) Management Summary

A) Organizational Structure

B) Management Team

C) Personnel Plan including Planned Pay Structure

VII) Financial Plan

A) Funding

B) Key Financial Indicators

C) Important Assumptions

D) Starting Costs

E) Break-Even Analysis

F) Projected Profit and Loss

G) Projected Cash Flow

H) Projected Balance Sheet

I) Business Ratios

VIII) Appendices (as appropriate)

From India, Indore
We are recruitment consultants and currently recruiting pan India. Now we want to venture into overseas placement. For this we require funding and a well prepared business plan. Can you please help us to prepare BP.

From India, Chandigarh
Hello Mr. Akhilesh.
It was a great learning experience.
I plan to venture into a business in future. Before that I do understand I need to do market survey and research and come up with solid business plan as you said, for my partners as well as lenders to have faith in the plan. A prospective growth/future trend can also help.
However, I want to know, how early should one start making business plan? I may venture out after 3years or so. Is this the right time? Or should I wait for a year (or more) and then start the research?
Pls guide.
Thanks in advance :)

From India, Mumbai
Hello Ankita,
Its always good to start early, but it depends on many things,like;
Nature and size of your business.
Vision of founders.
Type of industry.
For further help you may write to me on below mentioned id.

From India, Indore
You can find more articles such as on "Create Marketing Plan
for Your Business Startup" written by Tom Koppel at Writing Business Plan

From United Kingdom

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