How to Create a Business Plan for a Small Business
Starting a business is an exciting time, but you want to make sure you go about it properly. Part of this involves creating a detailed business plan. But how should you do this? What does it involve, and what should it achieve? Here’s a guide to creating your first startup business plan.
What Is a Business Plan?
Think of your business plan as the roadmap for your business startup. This means it should cover what your business does, how it will grow, where it will be in the future and why it exists in the first place.
While the above is a general description of a business plan, the truth is that they have slightly different purposes, and it’s important to know the purpose of your plan before you start writing it.
When starting a business, a business plan can help to provide direction for you and your employees so you can plan for the future. It can also help you to focus on your priorities and spot problem areas.
However, if the main goal of your startup business plan is to attract investors, its purpose will be to explain your business to others in a way that provides all the key information they need as well as generating enthusiasm.
Key Areas to Include
There are a number of key areas that should be included when you create a business plan. However, whether you include all of these will depend on the specific purpose of your plan.
The company profile should provide details on what your business startup does, the problem it solves, your target market and why your business is different. This section usually comes near the beginning.
Products and Services
In this section, you should cover the products or services that you sell. Make sure you keep this section simple and avoid jargon. You want to focus on why your product or service is different from or better than the others. What does the market need what you provide?
Sales and Marketing
Here you should clarify your marketing and sales plan. How will you sell your products or services? Which marketing techniques will you use?
Include details about pricing, publicity, PR, the clients you are seeking and more. This section can also help you with your marketing strategy for the future once you are up and running.
Provide an overview of the market and the competition. Feature key players in your space and how you plan to compete with them. Highlight your advantages as well as your disadvantages.
You should also provide details about who works at your business, including details of the management structure and key personnel. You can also highlight key skills as well as areas you are weak in.
If you already have some sales figures from previous years, state these here. If not, focus on your projections for your business startup. Be specific, be realistic and provide a balance sheet and forecasts for the next three years or more.
General Tips for an Effective Business Plan
In general, try to keep your startup business plan reasonably short. Don’t use jargon, and make it clear and concise.
Proof it for mistakes, and make it professional by adding a cover, creating a contents page and using charts where appropriate.
Finally, while this is a serious business document, that does not mean you cannot show your passion, especially if you are sharing your plan with investors. Make it clear why you are doing this, why you care and what you want to achieve.
Get Professional Help when Starting Your Business
Creating a business plan can be a daunting task, and you may want some professional help. As experienced Accountants, we have helped to create many business plans, and we can also assist you with other crucial business start-up tasks when you are launching a business like financial management, cash flow forecasting, billing and business valuations.
If you require help in starting your new business, contact us today to find out how we can help you get your new business off to a great start.