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Building a Successful Business Plan – What You Need to Know

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Every business needs to have a well thought out and thorough business plan in order to succeed. When writing a business plan it’s important to keep it as short and concise as possible while still including all of the necessary information.

It’s also important to understand the audience. Every person who is a member of that audience should be able to easily understand the information that is contained in the plan. This helps throughout the business with concerns such as productive teamwork and successful delegation. Before you begin to write the plan you also need to understand what you should include. Here are the main items that should form part of an effective business plan.

Executive summary

It’s important to write a good executive summary as this part of a business plan gives a succinct overview of the business and its strategies and plans. Ideally, this information should be provided within one or two pages. The information is then expanded upon within the other sections of the plan.

Description of the company

The description of the company should provide a high-level view of what the company is, how it operates and what its goals are. Items which should be mentioned include:

  • A brief history of the company.
  • What the company does.
  • What the needs are going to be satisfied by the company.
  • Who the customers are.
  • What products or services will be supplied.

Details of products and services

In this section of the business plan you should go into more detail about products and services. There needs to be a clear description of what is being offered and what benefits it can give to customers. It’s also important to include details of suppliers and costs involved.

Market analysis

It’s important to show that you have conducted comprehensive market research. The results of this research need to be reflected in the market analysis section of the business plan you are creating. Items to feature include:

  • Details of the customer demographic.
  • The outlook for the industry.
  • Marketing data concerning the products and services that the business is offering.
  • An evaluation of competitors in the industry.

Business strategy and plan for implementation

This section of a business plan needs to cover every part of the strategy for the company. You need to discuss how the company is going to market itself and what its pricing strategies are. You also need to feature information about concerns such as distribution, workforce and hours of operation.

Details of the company’s organization and management team

Any effective business plan needs to include information concerning the organisation of the company and its management team. In this section details of ownership of the company and profiles of the management team should be included.

Financial plan and forecast

The financial plan and forecast is one of the most important parts of a business plan. It’s also one which many business owners are wary of. However, it’s not that difficult to write a financial plan and forecast as long as you remember to include all of the relevant information. This information includes items such as revenue and sales predictions for the first 12 months of trading and annual projections for the remaining 3-5 years of the plan.

Appendix

You do not have to include an appendix in a business plan that you are writing. However, it can be a useful place to include additional information, such as tables and charts, that help to build on the understanding of the plan.

As long as you remember to include all of this information in a business plan that you are creating it should be a successful document. Remember that you can also amend the business plan throughout the life of the company.

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