13 Elements to a Winning Business Plan – Part 1

So just what exactly is in a business plan?  A business plan is a decision tools, a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals.The following contains a complete business plan in full. Generally speaking, here is what you will find in a typical business plan, though not necessarily in this exact order.(see also how to write a winning business plan)

  1. Title Page

On the title page should be the name of the business, your logo if you have one, the owner’s name, the business address and phone number, e-mail addresses, and the business web site if you have one.

  1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is probably the single most important part of your business plan. It presents the greatest hits of the plan and is vital because it is what investors’ key in on. If they like the executive summary, they will read more, but if they do not, all your hard work will be for naught. If you do not quickly capture the reader’s attention with a dynamic executive summary, you blew it.

Even though your entire business will be described in detail later in the plan, a crisp, three or four page introduction captures the immediate attention of the potential investor or lender. It should explain what

your business is, whom your market is, what is different about your business, why this is a good time for this venture, and why this is a unique opportunity. In addition, the amount of money being sought should be addressed.

  1. Contents

Next comes a table of contents that lists the section titles and page numbers. Because the executive summary is so important, consider writing it last, after you have thought through the entire plan.

Define accurately the target market for your business, You must then determine what your share of that feasible market will be. This is called your market share

  1. Business Description

Here you describe exactly what your business is going to be and how you see it growing. This section includes a description of the products or services you will be selling, your market niche, and so on. Explain why what you will be offering is different from other options on the market. Show that the market you are going to tap is large (and hopefully growing). If yours is a local small business, say a pizza restaurant, then explain why there is a demand for this type of restaurant in, say, a 10 square mile radius. If yours will be a national business, or an Internet business, then explain national needs for your services. Therefore, define accurately the target market for your business. In the case of our pizza restaurant, there may be 20,000 people in the area who would be willing to go to this type of restaurant. This is called its feasible market. You must then determine what your share of that feasible market will be. This is called your market share. You will also explain what legal form your business will take—sole

proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.

  1. Management

It is hard to underestimate just how important your management team is to potential investors. Banks and other lenders take seriously the background and experience of the team you have assembled.

Obviously,if yours is going to be a solo small business, then document your own skills and abilities for this type of business. But if you will need others to help you run the business, you better have a good team in place (and if you have not put a team together yet, now is the time to do so). What sort of team, you ask? Maybe you need a Director of Marketing, an attorney, an accountant, a Director of Operations, and/or a Director of Sales. It all depends on the sort of business you have in mind and what is needed to carry out your vision. But whatever it is, the important thing is to create a team of qualified people who can impress the brass. List your team, their backgrounds, and what their responsibilities will be.

  1. Industry Description

This section is where all of your background research done to date—analysing your ideas and so forth–can be inserted. The information you received from trade associations and magazines, web sites and books, and interviews and meetings can be used here. Discuss macroeconomic trends and other relevant economic indicators.

  1. Competition

Include all pertinent information about your competition; including the length of time they have been in business, where they are located, and their average annual sales. How will you beat the competition? Will you offer a better location, greater convenience, better prices, later hours, better quality, better service, or what? Analyse:

  • What they do right and wrong.
  • How customers’ needs are and are not being met by your competitors.
  • How you will lure their customers away.
  1. Marketing Strategy

How will you position your goods or services in the market? Are you going to cater to an upscale clientele, other businesses, or whom? What will your pricing strategy be? How will you promote your business? What sort of advertising and marketing do you propose? These are the sorts of questions you must answer. Also, if you have contacts or contracts already with clients, mention them here as well.

Read also The busines plan is a working document.

Related Posts