Guide for making a business plan
The business plan is the foundation of any business. Whether it is a start-up or a long-standing business, a business plan is essential for starting and running the business.
To create a good business plan you need to consider the following structure:
– Problem & Solution
– Target Market
– Marketing & Sales
– Milestones & Metrics
– Profit and Loss Statement
– Balance Sheet
– Cash Flow Statement
Besides the structure mentioned on the first page of the business plan, the company name, your tagline, date and contact information will be written.
On the second page you will generate the content of the plan so that it will be easy for you to find those important points mentioned in it.
- Problem summary
Describe very briefly why your business needs to exist. What problem do you solve for your customers? Finding the answer to this question will make its mark on the whole activity.
- Solution summary
At this point you need to highlight what your company is doing. Executive summay must be done several times because you will be able to detail later.
As in the case above, briefly specify the target audience and market segment. You will be able to detail things later.
Summerize your key competition. Who will your customers also consider?
- Why us?
Sometimes highlight financial targets, how much you want to sell next year and what are the long-term target sales.
At this point it is important to highlight what your target sales are, how you plan to sell and how much, but also what is the long-term goal in terms of sales.
Financial Highlights by year
To make the plan more attractive, show with a graph the forecast of sales, expenses and costs, net profit and net loss.
If you are writing a business plan to raise money for your business, include a brief summary of what you are looking for. If you aren’t raising money or getting a loan, you can delete this section.
- Problem & Solution
Write a little more detail than you provided in the Executive Summary about the problem you are solving. What do your customers need? Do they need a better product, a cheaper product, or just a store in a better location? Describe why customers will want to buy from you.
Also at this point it is necessary to provide additional details about the solution you come up with for your customers.
What is unique and special about your company that’s going to set it apart from the competition?
- Target Market
It is important to know your competitors and what are their main competitive advantages. If you target multiple user groups, describe their characteristics. You can specify the size of these groups, how big the market is and other specific characteristics of these users.
Describe your current competition. What products and services are people using instead of yours? After answering this question, explain why your product or service is better than the others. Also, be sure to describe any competitive advantages you may have, such as a patent or other unique component to your business.
- Marketing & Sales
At this point in the business plan you must highlight how the product or service offered will reach the attention of the target audience. Specify whether you will use online promotion, TV, radio or any other business promotion strategy.
This point is important for companies that rely on sales agents for whom you need a sales plan. Detail how things will unfold in the conditions in which sales are generated by sales people. If you want to create a food truck, this section is not so important.
Location & facilities
Evidence in the business plan physical location. This can be the location of the store, the office, the warehouse or anything that is relevant to your business. Mention the dimensions of the act space and specify how you think your things will evolve in the near future.
Create a list of the most important software, hardware, and other technology information that you currently use or want to use later. That might include a point-of-sale system to take payments, an e-commerce engine for your website, a CRM solution for managing your pipeline, marketing tools for generating leads, and so on.
Equipment & Tools
At this point it is necessary to highlight any specialized equipment you own and use as well as future equipment you intend to purchase.
- Milestones & Metrics
Create a list of key milestones and data you hope to get. If you’ve already accomplished key goals for your business, list them here as evidence that your business is getting traction, in other words, it’s getting positive attention from potential customers.
Explain what performance metrics are important to your business. What does success mean to you and your business and how will you know you have achieved it?
In this area of the business plan specify who owns this business. If there are several people who own the business, describe them and how much of an ownership stake they have. Identify the legal structure of the company. Is it a sole proprietorship – that is, just you working for yourself?
Or a partnership, such as a limited-liability corporation (LLC) or partnership (LLP), where the profits pass through to the partners involved? Or a nonprofit organization? Or a proper S- or C-type corporation with its own tax obligations and the rest?
Create a list of maangement team members, including yourself. Describe the skills and experience of each person as well as the activity within the company.
Describe any method, investors, former professors, industry or subject-matter experts, knowledgeable friends or family members, small-business counselors or others who can help you as a business owner.
Describe how you got the values from your financial forecast. Did you project your revenue based on previous results, market research, the best idea about how many people visit your store and what percentage of them could buy or other methods? What kind of growth do you expect? What are your key commitments and notable expenses? What level of profit do you expect to generate?
For the plan to be even better, it is important to include:
-a chart to show how the monthly income will evolve;
– a graph with the projection of costs each month
– a chart with information about net profit or loss by year
Use of funds
If your forecast includes loans, investments, or other financing, use this space to explain what you plan to do with that money.
Sourse of funds
Describe your financing plan. Invest your own money? Do you have a loan or a line of credit? What other types of funds – personal or business loans, equity investments from others, etc. – do you expect to receive and when? If you do not have the full detail of future financing worked out yet, that is understandable. Just explain what you do know and when you expect to sort out the details.
In your business plan it is recommended to include the following information about the company’s activity:
– Projected profit & loss for the next 3 years
– Projected balance sheet (for 3 years)
– Projected cash flow statement
This area of your business plan must contain:
– profit and loss statement with monthly details
– profit and loss statement (annual detail)
– balance sheet (with monthly detail)
– balance sheet (annual detail)
– cash flow statement (with monthly details)
– cash flow statement (annual details)