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How to write business plan?

Every enterprise should have a business plan. It does not need to be lengthy or filled with jargon. Focus instead on making it short, simple, specific and, above all else, realistic. Remember that an overambitious business plan may fool others, but you’re the fool left holding the can if it doesn’t work out. Here are ten things your plan should contain.

  1. Vision – capture in a sentence what is it that makes this business exciting and utterly irresistible to customers, suppliers and, most importantly, to you.
  2. Background – describe how you came to conclude that this is the right business to be in right now. What are the circumstances that are coinciding to create your opportunity?
  3. Goals – what are the specific short, medium and long-term goals by which success will be measured?
  4. People – who is in your team and how are they perfect for the job?
  5. Products/services – what are you going to sell and what are the main benefits they offer over what you know is available elsewhere?
  6. Competition – who’s already out there and how will you be different? The differences are crucially important – without knowing them you will not succeed.
  7. Marketing how are you going to communicate the benefits you offer to those you seek as customers? How will you measure the response and improve marketing effectiveness?
  8. Funding – how will you pay for it all and what can investors (if any) expect in return?
  9. Risk – show that you’ve assessed the risks to your success and have them covered.
  10. Jumping ship – a business, like anything else, has a natural lifespan. You need to plan for your exit before you start. Will you sell? Give it to your kids? What?

 

Good business plans are: 10 things every business plan should contain

1 .concise – to the point and focused;

  1. emotional – you want to do this like it hurts so tell the reader why;
  2. logical – giving you and any reader confidence;
  3. factual – demonstrating your understanding of the opportunity;
  4. realistic – not committing yourself to too much.

Every agency or bank that works with businesses will tell you that preparing the business plan is the essential first step. However, they will probably also tell you, if you ask them, that most business plans are filed in a drawer and never again looked at by those running the enterprise. The plan you write needs to be so relevant and useful that it becomes part of your business management. Here are a few myths about business plans.

  • I know my business and only need a plan to keep the bank happy – sharing a simple, concise business plan with key employees is one of the best ways to keep their efforts aligned with your vision. Business plans are for you, not the bank.
  • Banks need lots of detail to show that you’ve considered all possible eventualities – bank managers are people first and financiers second. The decision to lend will be made intuitively, with the manager’s gut feeling for your business backed up by the plan you write. Bank managers see many plans so keep yours short.
  • I’ve downloaded a great business plan model from the internet – the internet is full of business plan frameworks into which you can drop your business. However, it’s often best to copy the headings and write your own plan, using only those headings that are relevant and ignoring those that are not.
  • A consultant wrote my plan and the bank lent me INR 50,000 – sometimes, consultants and accountants are the best people to write your pitch to a funder. However, their starting point should be a business plan that you have written. No one else can really get into your mind and put your passion into the plan.


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