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A business plan is really simply-a document that describes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. There are multiple reasons to write a business plan. You could write one to understand how you are going to build or change operations of an existing business. You could write it as an aid in a new business venture. Perhaps the most commonly used reason for writing a business plan is to demonstrate to investors that you have done all the research and ask and answered all of the important questions relating to the development, operation and exit strategy of a project for which you are seeking investment.
What's in a business plan?
A Business plan typically covers at least these seven key components:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Market strategies
- Competitive analysis
- Design and development plan
- Operations and management plan
- Financial factors
No matter what the reason you write it, business plans take a lot of time to do properly as while they are being written, it is inevitable that a great deal of research and brainstorming must be done in order to fully lay out the plans and objectives of the business effort.
If you are wanting to write a business plan, you can do so yourself. Be prepared to dig very deep into the concepts surrounding the business. We recommend that while you are researching the document considering how you can approach your business ideas differently than how others are doing it. You will want to spend the largest amount of time focusing on your revenues, costs and financial projections. Some of the plans we have worked on have entailed literally hundreds of hours of research just to put the financial projections in place.
You will also want to spend the next largest amount of time working on your competition research to make sure you completely understand what others are doing and what is making them successful in the development of their efforts, or what is causing them to fail.
At the end of the plan, and perhaps the most useful part of the business plan, is you will have a clear determination of whether you should even do the business. We have had it happen on more than one occasion that the development of the business plan demonstrated to us that the business should be developed in a completely different way than we had envisioned. We have also had it happen where the process of writing the plan and the conclusions at the end of the plan demonstrated to us that the business simply is not viable. This is also success… as using the plan to determine this will help to avoid losing large amounts of your own – or investors – capital – and even worse – wasting your time on something that has no chance of success.
We have put here a few links for you for resources that may help you to write your own business plan. We do not vouch of the applicability or usefulness of any of these materials. We simply want to help you on your path towards your own success. Don’t forget, if you get stuck, feel free to give us a call.