Planning is everything. Without proper planning the chances of having a successful business are small or none. Many entrepreneurs fail to understand the meaning of the process of planning and decide to start a business without making upfront calculations for the life cycle of their business. Therefore when they come across a substantial problem that could have been predicted and even avoided in the initial stages of their project, now it is threatening to ruin their entire concept. In order to give your business a chance to blossom, you need to make a detailed plan taking into consideration every aspect of your future actions. This way you will be able to anticipate the future problems, avoid those that can be avoided and find a way to solve those that cannot.
So the question is – how do you write a good business plan that will serve as a foundation for your business?
Unfortunately business plans are not something you can search and download from the net and then use it as a ready-made template for your business. The reason behind this is that every business is different so you can rarely find something that will be in line with the specifics of your business. That means that you will have to be the author of this business plan that will decide on your future success. The only way you can be sure you are moving in the right direction is if you write the business plan from an investor’s point of view. You should write a plan that will convince you and future investors in the chances your business has to succeed and the ability to become profitable. Here are a few ideas that you should include in your business plan in order to make it work.
The first thing you need is to create an executive summary which will summarize the content of your plan and briefly explain your business. It should talk about your ideas, goals, the method of implementation, your projected finances and the budget you think would correspond. This part of the plan is crucial if you are planning on attracting investors. People don’t have the time to read your entire plan so you need something that will catch their attention within the first few lines. They will read the executive summary and if you are able to convince them that your project is worth their time, they might invest. Therefore use this section wisely.
Next you would need to provide some background information on your project. Basically all you need to do is expand the summary you have already written and add more information about the advantages of your business, why people should invest in it and what they can expect from it. Tell them a story, people love to read a good story.
Make a detailed analysis on the market and see if there is a demand in your field of work. Find a way to communicate with the customers and see the real response they have on your ideas. Their feedback might help you enhance your ideas and become competitive on the market.
Know Your Competitors
Since I’ve already mentioned the competition you should understand how important similar businesses could be for your future. It is very difficult to create a unique idea that nobody has thought of before so I’ll assume that you won’t be alone in the market. Therefore you should identify your competitors, analyze their method of work and work out a strategy that will help you attract more customers. Don’t let the success of others scare you. In fact it should motivate you to be better than the others and prove that your business is good.
You should also have a strategy on how to sell your products and services and deliver them to your consumers. It is a good idea to include a marketing plan that will show how you plan your project to unfold and to generate profit. You can also mention those investors who already decided to fund your project, if any, as it will give more credibility to your project.
Boost Skills and Experience
Another thing you must include is the relevant experience you and your team have. Nobody wants to work with a bunch of amateurs who have no clue how to run a business. Try to convince your potential investors that you know how to make things work. Choose your team carefully or if you are working on your own then try to boost your skills. At the end of the day you will be the one who would benefit the most if the final outcome is positive.
And finally you should include a cash flow projection for the entire cycle of your project. This is something that should be well calculated and carefully planned. Many people make the mistake of putting low figures and high profit just to make the business look more appealing. But if you are putting unrealistic expectations the investors will take note of that and they will either think you are trying to fool them or you are trying to fool yourself. Instead try to be as realistic as possible and use the exact figures. If they are not in line with what you have expected than this is the right time to revise your project. You should be happy to be able to detect such issues in the early stage of your project, as that gives you enough time to correct the things that can be corrected before you spend a real fortune and a lot of time on this project.
Remember that good business needs to be built on solid ground. The proper planning and realistic forecasts give you advantage and enable you to ensure stable and profitable future.