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At the heart of every great business lies a well researched and executed business plan. There are no quick routes into success and developing a highly detailed strategy from conception to birth of your company will ensure you have the best foundations for longevity and profitability.
Your business plan should include several sections, and it is common for a plan to be up to 50 pages long. Think of this as your bible. It will guide you through every part of the company, including the financials.
You’ll start with a summary. Up to four pages that illustrate what is included in the plan. You’ll then move on to an overview of your business. This will include a description of your services or products followed by the legal structure, the type of business, location and the means of doing business. You’ll highlight whether you will be internet-based or will have an office or store.
When it comes to your operations plan, you have to understand how your business will function on a daily basis. This means researching the set up of the company and what responsibilities you have over everyday tasks and logistics. You need to get to the heart of how your company will operate and work out every detail that is involved in the day to day business. This should cover everything from production to delivery.
At this point, you will move to market analysis. Here you give an overview of the market, and you need to know your target market inside out. It pays to research the industry you are in to gain a more in-depth insight into where the market is strong or weak. You can use resources like beverage industry statistics or retail sales forecasts to back up your analysis. The deeper you dig into the market, the better you will know it, and the stronger your foundations will become.
As you work your way through your plan from products and services to sales and marketing, you will start to see how viable your business is. Some people get halfway through a business plan and realize that the idea was great, but the concept wouldn’t be sustainable financially. Maybe the technology doesn’t exist yet to make their product competitive or affordable. This is why the first step to starting a business always begins with a thorough plan. If things stop making sense as you work your way through, then it could be time to stop and reassess.
The make or break for most businesses is their financial plan and projections. This is the final part of your business plan and will cover all the income and outgoings from staff costs to sales projections. To get the best financial forecast, you should invest in an independent financial planner. They will ensure you have covered every element of your industry and can find your options for lending or even grants and interest-free start-up loans.
Strengthen your business with a robust plan by learning your industry inside out. Once you have this, you’ll have everything you need to succeed.