So in the first two pieces I looked at the purpose and benefits of a business plan. This final piece I will just be helping you to consider the main areas you will want to reflect on as you get started putting your business plan together.
So finally I will share with you some further points to consider when you are looking to develop your business plan.
- Start with bullet points or lists. Don’t get stressed out about writing a long report, just get the basics down for each heading.
- Preparation is important and involves
- Assessing the current position of the business and its prospects for the future.
- Be realistic about where you are now
- Set short term and longer term objectives
- Set up a framework for action to be taken to achieve the objectives you want to realise.
- Include the three main areas that will impact on the business
- Operations – this is the part of the business that is responsible for looking after the administration, the processes and procedures, the design, production of the goods or services your business will deliver and dealing with your customers or clients.
- Finance – all money, expenditure, income, salaries, accounting, bookkeeping, etc.
- Marketing – this is about what actions and measure you will take to ensure that your customers find you and want to buy from you.
- As mentioned in my first piece you will also need to have a plan for your stakeholders, who include:
- Potential investors
- Government in the case of taxes, etc.
- The Community, in appropriate
When developing and writing your business plan it will be important for you to know your audience, identify what their needs will be, what they will want to know about and in how much detail and to be able to provide that information in a format that will easily answer their questions.
Here is a little guide that may help you to consider each stakeholder and their needs:
|Your business structure||Your Audience|
|Sole Trader||Bank Manager, Creditors, Taxman, auditors|
|Partnership||Fellow partners, staff, bank manager, creditors, professional body, taxman, auditors|
|Small Company||Directors, creditors, staff, manager, taxman|
|Department/Unit within an organisation||Head of department or Unit|
|An organisation||Directors, Head of department, team leaders/supervisors, groups|
If you are planning to develop a formal business plan the basic structure may include the following areas, although it does not have to include all of them. It does depend on who you are preparing the plan for and what information they will want to know about your business.
The main areas for a business plan are:
- The Executive or Management Summary
- General Company Description
- The product and/or Services you plan on providing
- A Marketing Plan
- An Operational Plan
- The Management and Organisational Chart
- A Personal Financial Statement
- Start –up Expenses and Capital
- Financial Plan
You may not need to or wish to include all of these points, as I’ve previously stated, but it may helpful to start to consider them by making a list of the bullet points for each and once you’ve gathered as much information as you can start to write things out more formally if this is what is required.
A Business Consultant will be able to help you develop a good business plan that is targeted focusing on what you want to achieve by presenting it and delivers the information your audience requires.
Sandra Pollock, Director, Business Coach & Consultant
Reference & helpful reading resources: Business Planning by Neil Russel-Jones