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Seven Steps to Create a Business Plan

So, following on from my last blog about cashflow, I thought it useful to cover a business plan.

There are always opportunities for new businesses. If nothing else, the coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption has given people the time and space they need to be creative and to think of new business ideas.

Additionally, the unreliable employment situation is acting as inspiration for people to make the leap and go it alone.

However, if you’re serious about creating a business, you’ll need a business plan – and lots of advice.

For most people, creating a business plan is one of the hardest tasks they undertake in the early days of their business.

Hopefully the following blog can make it a little easier for you budding entrepreneurs.

Your Business Plan

Your Business & Your Goals

  • If relevant, a brief history of the business.
  • A description of your business and a summary of your products and/or services.
  • What makes you different or stand out.
  • All your goals should be SMART.

                Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.

  • Your goals should cover the short (current year), medium (following 1-2 years) and long term (3+ years) of your business.

Your Audience & Your Market

  • The source of your information and research with as much relevant, quantified information as possible.
  • Cover how you will reach these potential customers and why they will buy from you.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the market.

–  The size of the existing market.

–  How people’s needs are being met at present.

Your Key Competitors

  • Show that you have done your research.
  • Detail both the strengths of your competition and their weaknesses.

Your Products/Services

  • Highlight your product and/or service’s most compelling characteristics.
  • Include your prices and a comparison with your competitors.
  • Show how they meet the needs of your target audience(s).
  • Any future product or service expansions you want to make.

Your Marketing & Your Staff

  • Promotional activity:

–  Where you will reach your target audience.

–  How you will create awareness and desire for your products and services.

  • Your marketing budget and how it will be allocated to each of the activities.
  • Profile of your staff that are part of the organisation.
  • State what their experience is and what they will be responsible for.
  • Include any external resource that you use or plan to use.

Your Financials

  • Sales figures, projections, revenue, costs.
  • Sales Forecast. If your business is already operating, include previous years’ figures.
  • Projected sales for each of your products and/or services into groups.
  • Include the cost of sales and margins.
  • Add commentary to explain what has generated the projections.
  • Cashflow.
  • Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet.

Your Source Of Funds

  • Where any existing funds have come from, how they will be used, how long you expect them to last, plus how and when they will be repaid.
  • Be clear on the type of funding you require.
  • What investment you require now, how it will be used and any likely returns.
  • Any funding gaps you anticipate in the future and how they will be addressed.
  • Anything that may affect how the funds are used and their repayment.

Try to make your plan as impactful as possible, it needs to stand out from the others.  Use colourful graphs and pie charts for an instant impact along with bullet points and tables to emphasise important points.

Finally, before you present your Business Plan, it might be a good idea to proofread it, double check all the figures and calculations, and ensure it appears slick and professional.

Good Luck 😉

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