The plan to success
As you start up your business, you need to write up a business plan. Having a plan has a proven track record in a business becoming successful. In this article, we’ll be unpacking all you need to know about writing a successful business plan that will move you from being a dreamer to a doer. Let’s get to work!
Download the easy-to-use iK Business Plan Template
What is a business plan?
Have you ever tried going to a place you’ve never been before without having the directions to get there? If yes, it was probably frustrating trying to reach the destination. If no, you’re probably thinking: how is it possible to reach a destination without knowing where it is?
The same applies to starting a new business. You need the directions to get there. Think of a business plan as navigation or a road map that gives you all the steps you need to take, to start and manage your business.
What is the purpose of a business plan?
It determines your business strategy as you get started and get growing
Once you’ve reached the stage of writing your business plan, you’ve reached a level of confidence that might get you excited to get right into business.
However, a business plan helps you take a step back. You have the opportunity to critically and strategically analyse the routes you need to take and the decisions you need to make, to move your business forward.
In addition to that, you’re able to prioritise the challenges you need to tackle first to get the business started in the best way possible. And when your business grows, you’re able to update your business plan, change your strategic direction and evaluate your milestones.
It assists you in determining your future financial projections
To make money, you need to spend money. Your business plan needs to estimate how much capital you’ll need to start, manage and grow your business. A phrase used to describe this form of estimation is “financial projections”.
Your financial projections are there to help you measure if your goals are attainable.
Similarly, they’re also there to show your investors the capital you may need to get your business off the ground.
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It makes you attractive to potential investors and funders
Once again, depending on your finances, you may need capital to get the ball rolling. But don’t you worry. Some companies and organisations are attracted to brilliant startup business ideas and may look to invest in them.
If you’ve booked a meeting with a potential investor, the first thing they’ll ask you to present them with is your business plan. Why? It proves your commitment to building the business. Over and above that, it inspires confidence that your investors could experience a return of investment at a later stage.
With that being said, let your business plan communicate your ideas and unpack your passions on your behalf.
What are the benefits of having a business plan?
It helps you understand your market
Your business plan covers everything you need to know about the market you’re entering into. Your market is split into two; the first are your competitors and the second is your target market.
When you study your competitors, you can identify and understand what competitive advantage they have in the market. The insights you gain help you spot trends (both good and bad) – that you could either avoid or adopt. In essence, you will figure out how to gain a competitive advantage.
The second part is having an in-depth understanding of your customer. You need to give a detailed breakdown of your customers in your business plan. When you do a deep dive into them and have a detailed picture of who they are, you’ll effectively deliver your products or services for their needs.
It gives your business brand positioning
To figure out what your role is in the market you need to evaluate your competitors and your customers. The clearer your positioning, the more impressive you’ll be in the market. Your business plan can help you define that role concisely.
It puts your marketing plan in place
How are you going to make your mark in the market? You need to document the plan and strategy for that. Key questions you need to answer to in the business plan are:
- What ways will I reach my customers?
- How will I keep my customers?
- What advertising tools am I going to use?
- How much will I spend on advertising?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you have a marketing plan that will give you the direction you need to help your business grow.
It can draw the interest of potential partners
The start of your business may mean having a partnership that pushes the business’ potential further. Developing a partnership needs time and money. More often than not, potential partners who show interest in partnering with you need to see a thorough business plan.
What you need to include in a startup business plan
Business plans tend to vary depending on the type of business you’re starting and who your business plan is for. Since we’re covering the crux of a startup business plan, this is what it should include:
- Company description describing how you will meet your customers’ needs
- Product or service defining what your business will sell
- A market analysis unpacks findings on your industry, target market, and competitors.
- Marketing plans of how you will make sales
- Funding requests and financial projections a budget of how much you’ll spend and how much money you’ll need
Download the easy-to-use iK Business Plan Template here.
Pro tips to put in action
- Try to keep your business plan succinct while keeping all the necessary parts.
- Stay away from complicated or technical language about your product, services or systems.
- Your first business plan is not your last one, it’s a continuous work in progress. Expect your strategies to change as your knowledge expands.
- Your business plan is a project, break each section into doable and sizeable chunks.
- Be honest about the results you obtain from your research.
- Back up your statements with data, facts or statistics.
- Don’t be afraid to outline your business’ risk. It’s always good for investors to prepare for any hiccups that may occur along the way.
You’re ready to roll
Now that you’ve got all the basics, it’s time to get into business. Ready, set, now get that business plan started. Because now is the time to move from dreaming about owning your own business to being the owner of your own business.
Download the easy-to-use iK Business Plan Template here.
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