Success in any business is the result of a thorough business plan. It is proven that startups with a business plan have twice as much chance of success as those without one. With the help of our guide, you do not need to look for business research topics, and you will be able to develop a successful business plan without outside help.
Without a business plan, you will not be able to:
- clearly define the goals of your project;
- calculate the budget;
- identify the terms of implementation;
- identify the strengths and weaknesses of your project;
- analyze the risks and the payback period.
- That is why it is essential to know the path of development of the business from the very beginning of the company’s activity.
So if you still have not created a business plan, do not hesitate to change it. With it, you can evaluate your business ambitions and achieve success.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a planning document that describes any commercial project in detail. This is a presentation of all the features, details, and nuances of your business, which includes financial audits, needed resources for the launch, a description of the product, its strong and weak sides, a description of the target market, composed of the cost estimate, costs and income, and spelled out the legal form of the company and the necessary documents. Thus, the business plan must answer the main question — is it worthwhile to start this project and invest money in it?
Six steps for creating a successful business plan
You can create a business plan yourself, or you can order it. Of course, we recommend developing it independently, so you can:
- learn about your business deeper;
- get deep insight into the market and competitors;
- gain additional experience and information.
Here are six basic tips for creating a business plan:
- Before you create a business plan, you have to analyze the situation in the market as a whole. In particular, gather as much information as possible about competitors and their products. Learn about the experience of companies that are similar to yours. Pay particular attention to those companies that could not achieve success. It is better to learn from the mistakes of others than to make their own.
- Identify your product, especially its strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors.
- Consider the marketing strategy — identify your target audience (people who buy your products), where you sell your product, how you will attract and retain customers, etc.
- Review the production process. What kind of facility do you need, what equipment, and how many employees? If you do not produce goods, this point can be skipped.
- Check all the risks and suggest ways to eliminate them. This way, you will reduce the likelihood of failure in your work.
- Establish clear goals and deadlines, and think through all possible ways to achieve them.
This is a preparation for the creation of a business plan. After all, its development will take more than one day because it is necessary to collect and analyze a lot of information. Take a very responsible approach to this because your plan’s success depends on the business success in which you invest money.
Business plan: the main sections and their essence
The structure of the business plan does not depend on the industry. The gas station, cafe, and fashionable boutique start with the main sections.
It contains the basic information:
- type and direction of work;
- payback period;
- indicators of successful activity.
Regardless of the source of funding, your project must be understandable. You yourself care how soon you will return your investment, and the investor cares twice as much.
Description of the business segment
Describe what and how you plan to achieve it in detail. Factors of success will also be:
- a detailed description of your competitors (remember the first rule of making a business plan?);
- description of your competitive advantages (what are you going to do better?);
- describe the product or service in detail, identify your target audience and their key needs;
- determine your pricing model and provide a comparative analysis of your prices and competitors.
After that, you will know exactly what, for whom and how you must offer in the market.
How you promote your business in the market influences the quality and speed of processes, financial performance, the time of the return of investments, and the company’s overall success.
At this stage, you should identify:
- types of advertising activities;
- the means of promotion on the market — from distributors to own direct sales and cold calls;
- the system of motivation of the own staff for success in sales and promotion;
- analyze the seasonality, and make a plan based on it.
First of all, be honest with yourself. Improve and brainstorm with your partners if you see any weaknesses or unclear points.
The work plan
Have you found the optimal form of ownership and method of taxation? This is the time to do it. If you want, consult on accounting forums and with a lawyer.
No one will build your company’s structure better than you:
- Determine how many employees you need for the first phase and who is it;
- Determine the level of compensation and motivation system;
- Try to look ahead and anticipate how the staff and the firm will develop in the next few years.
The financial plan must consider all other factors — from non-recurring costs to recurring, mandatory, and emergency.
Recurring costs are:
- Rent of the premises and utility bills;
- Telecommunications costs: telephone and the Internet;
- Office supplies;
- Advertising services, promotion.
One-time costs include the cost of a one-time investment for the start of work:
- office furniture;
- equipment for work;
- repairs, etc.
We hope that our simple 6 steps will help you hack a business plan and make your company prosper.