A Business Plan is a vital document for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Typically, business plans are written keeping potential investors in mind to raise money and funding for a venture. However, it is essential for business owners of all sizes and at all stages to prepare a business plan to stay organized and focused, work towards strategic growth, track income and expenditures and assign responsibilities.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”.
A Business Plan acts as a blueprint to achieve consistent, healthy growth. The first step for creating a business plan is to review your businesses financials from the previous year and analyze the strengths and weaknesses. This helps set a precedence and background to prepare a framework for the future. A business plan should be customized taking into account the stage of the business and the business owner’s goals and objectives.
Following is an outline of what a business plan could include:
Mission and Vision statement - Reiterating the company’s vision, values and goals help to align the business with them. It is important to identify the businesses ideal customer and USP and include it in the business plan.
Marketing plan - Concentrate on your core competencies to help identify your brand image and value. Identify a marketing budget and prepare a monthly calendar to keep a track of your marketing endeavors.
Financial plan – The income and expenditure analysis of the previous year(s) should help you create a framework for your monthly budget for this year. Prepare monthly or quarterly expense projections to assist with managing cash flows and also understanding your income requirements.
Operations – Create policies, procedures and systems for internal business operations and processes for dealing with customer and client expectations. Identify time spent on administration of the business and whether you need help or delegate authority.
Hope these tips help you to draw up a basic business plan for your business. If you would like some more assistance or want a template to begin with, see the U.S. Small Business Administration website or SCORE website for a variety of samples.
To your success and prosperity!