Before starting a business, you should ensure that you are prepared by writing up a plan. It is important that you have achievable goals, as well as a timescale for completing them. Those who have a plan in place and implement it are more likely to be successful than those who do not. Even if you are setting up a small business, having a plan will still be beneficial as it can help you secure a business loan or attract the interest of potential investors.
There are many aspects that should be included in your plan, such as: the business idea, financial objective and profit forecasts. You should also list the employees, if any, along with their role in the company. If you intend to apply for a business loan, the bank may require a more detailed plan. This may include your financial information, a history of the company and a statement detailing why you believe the business will be a success.
There is a lot to consider and it may seem daunting, but there are online resources to help. Websites dedicated to building a business offer tips and advice on business planning. There are various articles regarding guidelines for writing a business plan, different types of business plan and checklists to complete before starting the plan. You can also find advice on tailoring the plan for different audiences and how to pitch your plan.
Some useful sites offer downloadable business plan templates, usually they are available free of charge. While these templates are often fairly generic, they can be refined to fit your needs.
You can also join forums where you can discuss your business ideas and get advice from other business owners.
Top tips to writing a successful business plan:
- Be conservative. While your idea may be great and you can definitely see a market for it, don't over estimate your first annual profit. It can skew your other projections and can make you look quite naive to potential inventors. Some people have suggested reducing projected revenue by 10% and increasing expected costs by 10%.
- Use visuals. Graphs and tables are a great way to display information as they are concise and grab the reader's attention straight away.
- Attention to detail. Once you've put together your plan give it a read through to make sure that you've got all the required content in there. Also, its a great idea to get a friend or even an expert to read it too as they may spot something that you did not pick up on.
- Be focused. A focused business plan is an excellent business tool as it can help make sure that you stay on track during the hectic initial years of starting a business. It can also guide your future business decisions as a business plan gives you long-term goals to work towards.