Planning is the roadmap of achieving the desired goal. Unless you know how to make a business plan, you can’t reach your destiny. But hey, aren’t you a very positive person and crave setting an example? Hope so! Then this article is precisely for you.
Being a provider of same day printing service in London, we see many ups and downs. And as a printing and designing business, we also know the importance of having a plan. Therefore we have prepared a step-by-step guide to pave the way for you. Be with us!
How to Make a Business Plan
You might be one of those who is afraid of the Covid-19 pandemic issue. No worries, a QuickBooks 2020 survey says 72% of people thinking of a start-up within the next 12 months are optimistic about their prospects. They think the pandemic and the post-pandemic situation is the apt time to move on! Moreover, 28% of people say that the Covid-19 only accelerated their plans, whereas 42% say that it enabled them to make their gigs more official! That’s why we have thought of preparing a guide. Let’s go ahead!
What Is a Business Plan and When to Make It?
A business plan is a comprehensive roadmap for business growth and development. It is a blueprint of your mission, vision, and how you execute. However, a business idea or business concept is in no way a business plan. From the other point of view, this is the prerequisite of securing financial assistance from venture capitalists (VCs) and banking institutions. It would help if you made a business plan when you –
- Need funding, investments, or loans
- Attempt for talent-hunt
- Need a change against a slow growth
- Search for a new partnership
A business plan should be as objective-oriented as possible. It will serve as your guide for months or years. Such a blueprint describes management responsibilities, provides an overall picture of marketing plans, and evaluates competition in the marketplace.
Come up with an Executive Summary
Let us make it clear what an executive summary is. It is a short outline of a company’s purpose and goals. Here in this part, you have to refine and tighten your idea, determine your priorities, as well as find out the market opportunities and competitive advantage. In other words, a good Summary features:
- A precise description of products and services
- A synopsis of objectives
- A solid narrative of the market
- An image of growth potential
- An overview of funding requirements
- An observation on the competition and competitive advantage
Then how would you write an executive summary? Well, we have a guideline for you. You can either follow a straightforward “problem, solution” format or a ”fill-in-the-blanks” framework. It is as follows:
- For [your target customers]
- Who are dissatisfied with [solutions to the ongoing situation]
- Our [product or service] solves [core customer problems]
- Unlike [competing product], we have [showing contrast by key features]
Draft Your Company Description
A company description comprises three elements in a business plan. Grab them gradually! We are going to narrate them downright.
(a) Mission Statement
Tell your target people why you exist. Please note, it’s not only about what you do or what you sell but also the reason behind it. And yes, it should be inspiring, a bit emotional instead of being rigidly formal. However, describing the true causes and experiences is a must. That means you have to narrate what has driven you toward the start-up and how you would solve a specific problem.
This portion should look like a profile. Let the audience grasp your company’s history in a while. It usually includes the founding date, significant milestones, location, number of employees, executive leadership roles, flagship products or services, etc.
Business objectives are of their own kind. They need to be specific, time-bound, realistic, and achievable. It helps employees and team members to work towards a particular purpose. Remember, these should be capable of convincing the customers and have a profitable outcome.
Outline Your Market Research with Possibilities
You must have conducted market research as a start-up, haven’t you? Okay, now it’s time to showcase that research summary to the investors. Besides, let your potential customers know about the possibilities of your market. A target market usually includes demographic information. These are as follows:
For example, you want to do a tourist business by providing vehicles for rent. Your target market is a forest area. Then it would help if you showed the number of visitors and the tactics to attract them.
Do the Competitive Research
You are in a race. Unless you analyse the competition, you can’t find ways to beat the competition. This research should include some essential questions. After identifying the most significant competitors, answer the questions below –
- Where do they invest in advertising?
- What sort of media coverage do they get?
- What are their sales and pricing strategies?
- How about their customer service?
- How do they secure a good rank on third-party rating platforms?
You had better use Google Spreadsheet for listing your competitors. And in this regard, your competitor’s websites will be handy. You can develop a better idea to demonstrate watching the top rankers’ “About Us” page or their mission and values statement.
Describe Your Product or Services
The business plan should have a clear and concise description of your products or services. Overall, it contains their benefits, production process, and lifecycle. Most importantly, it would help best if you differentiated your plan from the competitors this way –
- Focusing on unique features, intellectual property rights, emotional and practical payoffs while describing benefits
- Focusing on source raw materials, quality control and quality assurance, supply-chain logistics while describing the production process
- Focusing on upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells, the time between purchases, upcoming plans for research and development, etc.
Come about a Marketing and Sales Strategy
Both marketing and sales strategies are a critical part of the business plan. It will be wise to precisely pen down the ideal target markets as well as the value proposition. Additionally, this section should include –
- Tactics to entice new businesses
- Retention strategies such as customer loyalty or referral programs
- Advertising and promotional mechanism through search engines, social, print, and mainstream media
Compile Your Business Financials
Look, even if you are a start-up, having a budget and a financial plan are a must. If you want to have some investors in your pavilion, you need to have some urgent papers. These are as follows:
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
- Balance sheets
- Profit and loss statements
- Revenue retained as net income
- Liquidity ratio to debt repayment
- Number of invoice collection
Interpret Your Funding Request
Estimating the need for capital is the precondition of requesting a fund. Giving a range instead of an exact number is also acceptable. Whatever it is, adding both a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario is vital.
Large companies issue both equity and debt. So it would help if you decided what you want to accept. Before selling equity in your business, you better make a decision.
Compile Your Official Documents
It is the final step. Here it would help if you compiled an appendix for the official documents. At the same time, it will be great to make a miniature table of contents and footnotes. A soundly-organised appendix includes:
- Deeds and local permits
- Key customer contracts and purchase orders
- Legal documents
- Business registries
- Professional licenses
- State and federal identification numbers or codes
- Industry associations and memberships
- Patents and intellectual properties
To Wrap Up
This was our long-run prepared guide on how to make a business plan. No matter you are a new entrepreneur or a seasoned businessperson, you cannot but recognize its importance. It is like preparing a lesson plan before you enter a classroom as a teacher. And if you plan well, if you are confident enough, nothing can stop you. Best of luck! By this excellent guide, you are theoretically all set, and it’s time to move on!
Question: Do I need a business plan?
Answer: Certainly, this is an inevitable thing to convert your business idea into a reality. It’s all about making a map of where to focus and how to act for your start-up business.
Question: How long should be a business plan?
Answer: Dear, there is no hard and fast rule. Depending on the purpose of the plan and audience, a business plan may range from 10 to 100 pages or even more. However, you better make it as precise as possible. An internal business plan is generally shorter. On the contrary, it will be longer if it’s all about presenting a plan to new investors.
Question: Should I hire to write my business plan?
Answer: It’s okay to hire an expert. However, it’s up to you to narrate to the consultant your mission in detail. As a business owner, you might not be free to write on your own. You better prepare a draft and ask your consultant to refine and rewrite as you want to ease the process.