INTRODUCTION – Whoever said you don’t need a formal business plan to start or expand your business was certainly not addressing those who need funds from creditors and investors.
Like many successful businesses have done, you can launch your business idea without the benefit of a formal business plan—but this applies only if you have all the funds you need or you are just testing the business waters to see how it turns out.
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Why You Need a Business Plan for your Small Business
However, if you are risking your capital, time, resources and effort to start a business; then you certainly need a business plan to help you mitigate against the risk involved. If you are already a business owner but you started out without a business plan, then you definitely need to invest in getting a business plan; especially if you want to take your business to the next level.
If you would need to obtain financing from third parties either now or in future, then a business plan is indispensable, as it sells your idea and elucidates the opportunities it presents. It arranges strategic alliances, attracts key employees, boosts your confidence, and helps you remain focused. From the table of contents to the financial tables, a business plan covers a lot of ground.
Now how can you make your executive summary stand out? What are the most important details to include in the different sections of your plan? How do you present financial projections? You will get answers to these and other questions in this chapter.
Why I Wrote this Small Business Plan Guide
Over the years, I have met different individuals with brilliant business ideas roughly sketched on paper. But when I asked these individuals of their business plan, the usual reply I get is this:
- I don’t know how to write a business plan
- I don’t have time to write a business plan now, maybe some other time
- I don’t have money to hire a business consultant to write a plan for me
If you have ever bore any of the thoughts above in your mind, then you are the reason I wrote this eBook. I want to take the stress of writing a business plan away from you and most importantly, I want to teach you how to write your own personal business plan without hiring anyone. This is the sole reason why I wrote this eBook.
Yes, the reason I called it a personal business plan is because a business plan should be personal. A business plan should not just be a file or document, it should be your dream in written form. In fact, I advocate that you write your business plan yourself ; so that it will be engraved in your heart.
My Business Plan is Me
Now using myself as an instance, if you wake me up in the dead of the night, or you happen to run into me in a restaurant or fast food outlet and you ask me about my business; I will tell you everything you need to know about it. In fact, I don’t need to look into a book or tablet to do a business plan presentation to investors or lenders; I will just talk off-hand without memorizing or rehearsing anything. Why?
The reason is because I wrote the business plan myself. Yea, I may work with an accountant or attorney to get the technical facts I need but the bulk work will be done by me. This is the level I want you to aspire to, especially if you are just starting your first business.
Who I Wrote this Business Plan Guide for
I wrote this eBook for three set of individuals:
- Entrepreneurs who are just starting out in business and want to write their own business plan
- Established business owners who want to expand their businesses and need a business plan
- Those seeking funds (grants, loans or equity) to finance their business project
7 Tools You Need to Write a Business Plan
To ensure a smooth writing and planning process, there are certain tools you need. Example of these tools are:
- A Pen
- A book
- A laptop or desktop computer or tablet
- Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
- Electronic calculator
- Pre-made business plan templates
- A business plan software
The Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Good Business Plan
TABLE OF CONTENT
SECTION A – Understanding the Basics of Writing a Business Plan
Chapter 1: Why Should You Develop a Business Plan?
- In this chapter, you will learn the what the true purpose of a business plan is. You will also learn the advantages and benefits of a business plan, and the importance of strategic planning to a small business.
- Most people intertwine a business plan with a feasibility study report, but they are definitely not the same. This chapter will help you understand the difference between the two and their specific role in the business planning process.
- Is a strategic plan the same with a business plan? The answer is YES and NO; depending on the perspective you are looking at it. This chapter will highlight the differences.
Chapter 4: The Basic Components of a Business Plan
- In this chapter, you will learn the fundamental factors that make up a business plan. Without these factors, your business plan will not achieve its purpose.
SECTION B: Writing the Business Plan
- This chapter teaches you in detail how to get in the right mindset, prepare your business plan cover letter, write your title page and table of content. You will also learn about the various tools you need to write faster and accurately.
Chapter 6: Steps to Writing a Business Plan
- You don’t just write a business plan anyhow, there are laid down steps to follow so that your business plan will have a professional look and flow. This chapter will teach how to structure your business plan.
- A Business plan executive summary is the most important section of a business plan because it is the first thing an investor sees. This chapter will reveal you the basic necessities and data that must make up your business plan executive summary.
Chapter 8: Writing your Company’s Profile
- This chapter covers everything you need to know about writing your bio, your business team’s profile, business goals and objectives, core values, mission and vision statement.
Chapter 9: Your Industry Analysis
- This chapter covers everything you need to know about competition analysis, market size and target audience, market forces and trends, environment analysis and risk assessment.
Chapter 10: Writing a Marketing Plan
- This chapter discusses practical steps on how to devise your marketing strategy, identify your customers demography and psychography, draw your advertising and promotional plan, your sales distribution plan, etc.
Chapter 11: Developing an Operations Plan
- This chapter teaches how to prepare an operations plan and also describe your production process. You will also learn how to conduct a manpower analysis.
Chapter 12: Planning your Business Growth Strategy
- In this chapter, you will learn how to devise your short and long term business growth strategy. This is important because investors want to know your long term expansion plans and where your company will be in the next five to ten years.
Chapter 13: Your Financial Plan and Projections
- In this section, you will learn the basic documents that make up a financial statement. You will also learn how to prepare a financial plan, estimate your sales projections, estimate your expenses and arrange them in a spreadsheet.
Chapter 14: Your Business Exit Strategy
- You are not going to die with your business; neither are your investors. This is why you need to prepare an exit plan not just for yourself but also for your investors.
SECTION C: Conclusion
Chapter 15: How to Present a Business Plan with PowerPoint
Bonus Chapter: – A Sample Business Plan Template
How to Write a Business Plan Based of Specific Industry
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