A great business plan is the best way to start a business. It prepares the entrepreneur for the many obstacles and avenues that may come up and be utilised. A great business plan will pave the way for funding my means of bank loans and investors and will outline everything from the business name to promotional marketing, market share to the sales strategy. A great business plan is like having your own personal guidebook to success, expanding on the avenues for growth and highlighting ways to avoid failure.
To ensure your business plan is effective, take these tips on how to tailor this useful document to your individual needs.
1) The Industry
When you start out on this important document, you should begin with outlining the industry that you plan to run your business in.
Define what the company will do. If it’s a shop, what will it sell and how is it relevant to the industry? If it’s a service, then how will your service benefit the industry?
Have a clear idea of exactly what products or services you plan to sell. If you want to open a shop, then find out why your stock will sell well, how it fills a gap in the industry or why it is unique? If it’s a service, then ensure you understand every aspect of the service and what education or training it might require.
2) The Market
In your new business venture, who will your customer be?
Do your research to discover the details of the demographic you plan to sell to. Knowing your customer means you can tailor your business to service them effectively and market your product or service to their needs.
DO you know the scope and size of your target market? Is it a mass market or a niche market? Are there trends in the market and if so what are they? How will you capitalise on these trends?
Who is the competition? What other brands, products or services are out there competing for the attention of your target market? What do you expect your share of this market is? How will you capture this share of the market?
What marketing and strategies will you employ to capture your share of the market?
This is the nitty gritty part of the plan now. Where are you planning on locating your business and why? What facilities will you need and can you afford?
What will your staffing requirements be? What will your sales strategy be?
This part is where you define exactly you might need to achieve your business plan.
If your business will require staff, then you will need to put a management plan into place. A management plan will define the organisation in terms of the hierarchy of the employees; who is the boss, and who reports to whom?
Will your business require a company strategy of owners, shareholders, directors and committees? IF so how will you decide on these roles and who will you choose?
What benefits, incentives and rewards will you employ to get the most out of your staff in terms of productivity and loyalty?
Here is the fulcrum that you plan rests on. This part of the plan will outline how you plan to source funds for start up, how to generate income and how to manage cash flow.
Will your income be steady all year round or will you have periods of high and low financial activity?
Will you have enough income to employ promotional marketing strategies and if so, what will the budget be?
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