A business plan is like your recipe book – it will tell you what you need to do at what stage and in the end, are you achieving your goals or not. Apart from just acting as your roadmap it is also a very important document that will help you lure investors.
An ideal business plan must begin with an executive summary and end with appendices. The order of a business plan goes like this –
- Executive summary
- About the company
- Market analysis
- Industry analysis
- The organization and management plan
- Marketing strategies
- Financial planning and strategies
- Investments and funding plans
- Financial projections
You can add more details based on your product and requirement but the above stated are most recommended in any and all business plans. Still wondering how to draft the perfect business plan? Here are 5 tips that will help you come up with a flawless plan –
#1: Research Research Research
Imagine you are an investor and another person with your business plan comes to you. The way you will research if you have to put in money into the business, do that kind of research. Do not leave any stone unturned and research and analyze your product/service well. You are the owner of the business and you are supposed to know everything related to it.
#2: Answer the question – ‘what is the purpose of my business plan?’
A business plan can have various purposes – to make a business presentation to investors, to sell it to customers or for mere internal referencing purposes. Based on the need, a business plan is drafted. Thus, if you know why you are drafting this business plan, it will become easier for you to know what to include in what depth. For instance if it is just for internal referencing, you may not have to go in depth about your investments and funding plans. On the other hand if it is for your investors then you have to stress on the section of financial planning and investment plans.
#3: Define your company – make a profile, mention the visions and goals
It is very vague to just talk a few lines about your startup. Come up with a company profile that will include the history, and ideation process of your startup. It will include answers to why you came up with this idea, who helped you, how this idea generated in your mind, what problems do you plan to solve etc.
#4: Keep in mind the practical issues that might come up in the course of the business
Market and industry analysis just does not need to include everything positive about the viability of your product/service. An analysis is more like a SWOT analysis that will talk about the areas of development and threats to your startup too. So while doing this analysis, think of practical situations and issues that might actually occur in a business market as yours. For instance if you are coming up with an online business, a real situation could be the tough competition from already existing players.
#5: Draft your executive summary in the end
This is suggested for two major reasons – one, because since it is a summary it will be easier for you to sum up everything in the end. If you try to summarize in the start, you may miss out on some major points that you will come up with while drafting the other areas of the business plan.
Second, the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read and hence it must be really appealing. Thus, it has to include EVERYTHING in your business plan in such a way that even if someone doesn’t go through the entire plan, the summary shall say it all.
A business plan is no rocket science. It can be customized as you feel like and that’s the best part about it. All you have to do is – include everything about your business into it, and you are almost done. Just refining and editing will be left! All the best!