Are you planning a new business? and wondering what a effective business plan must include!! Well here are some details which you make sure to include in your business plan:
Every Business Plan should have a cover page, which includes:
The Company’s name, address, telephone, fax, e-mail and website address, if any.
The name and designation of the contact person – who should be one of the top executives of the enterprise and one who is familiar with and was part of the team that formulated the business plan and will be able to answer any queries relating to the business plan.
Names of organizations from where funding is being sought.
The Company’s logo – every company being established should have a logo in place, which could be an image, design or picture representing the company’s ideology pictographically.
Table of Contents
Once the cover page has been made, a formal table of contents must be written for easy navigation to the rest of the plan, by numbering each section.
The executive summary is the most important part of a business plan, especially to the investors. Most investors do not go beyond the executive summary, as they have too many plans to read. So make sure that your executive summary is able of conveying clearly and succinctly exactly what you want your investors to read.
The summary should include:
Kind of Business – a brief description of the industry your firm is focusing on.
Profile of the company’s management – listing the names of top executives and their qualifications and industry experience.
Financial requirements – briefly state how much finance is required. Also make sure you indicate the degree of flexibility you are willing to show in case the investor suggests any changes in your plan. This will allow the investor to consider your plan with few changes rather than rejecting your plan outright due to rigidity on your part.
Budget allocations – the financial section of the business plan should be able to explain how you will be using the finance.
Objectives – The business plan should present in a well defined format the short term and long term objectives of the new business venture.
The objectives can be broadly divided into quantitative and qualitative objectives.
Market Analysis – The business plan should be able to convince the investor that the entrepreneur understands the prevailing competitive environment and is able to prove that his/her product/service is a niche product or service with substantial prospects for growth and capable of attaining a competitive position in the market.
Environmental Influences – Demonstrate your knowledge and competence by evaluating the impact of the environmental influences such as political, economic, technological, socio-demographic and ecological factors that affect your area of business.
Development and Production
Detail the stages of development and production of your product/service, spelling out how time and money will be allocated at each stage.
Analyse the type of resources required at each stage of production such as financial, human, physical, technological, etc.
Quality – Discuss the quality control measures to be put into place by your firm to ensure the quality of the product/service.
Marketing – Once again underscore the market potential for your product by describing your product’s exclusivity, describe how it will exploit your competitors weaknesses.
Identify the target market which should be substantiated by a thorough market research.
Once the target market has been identified, focus on the communication strategy including advertising, branding, packaging etc. Like always list the costs involved for each segment of marketing.
Sales Forecast – Sales forecast is primarily dependent on three factors – size of the market, fraction of the market you will be able to capture as a result of your marketing strategy and the pricing strategy.
Financial Plans – A new venture must show projected profit and loss statements and cash flow statements.
Human Resources – Make an organization chart with details of key executives and profiles of individuals likely to be hired.
Form of Business – Describe the legal form of your business – whether it is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, public limited co. etc.
Critical Risks – As a legal and moral obligation, the entrepreneur must, in the business plan, envision risks the investor would be undertaking in case he makes a choice to invest in your business. This will protect you from civil and criminal liability.
Conclusion – Briefly once again point out the highlights and key features of your business plan.
Also mention the time schedules against each stage of your venture. Along with your business plan make sure to support your document with flow charts, photographs, market surveys, sample brochures, advertisements, tax returns, resumes of board members, letters of recommendations etc. All this should form a part of appendixes.
Format and Presentation
Physical Appearance – The document should not look too ornate or too plain. The document should have a neat business feel to it. It must look professional and not shabby. Ideally it should be a neatly typed document which is spiral bound. The pages should be crisp with wide margins and easy to read size and style of font. Graphs and photographs should be of high quality.
Writing and Editing
It is extremely important that the business plan is well written in crisp and easy to comprehend language, is to the point and does not contain irrelevant information.
The essential elements of the plan are generally recognized. The preliminary sections set the stage for the reader. Make the first impression professional, concise, and informative because the reader may spend only a few minutes reviewing each plan. The major sections of the business plan describe the new venture’s strategy, operations, marketing, management, financial plan, and ownership structure. These sections need to be as detailed as possible and internally consistent. The concluding sections provide details on timing, schedules and milestones, and a summary. The appendix contains reference material for documentation.
Each plan must be well written and organized, and it must anticipate the many questions that the reader will have about the business. No plan, however, can answer all questions that may arise. It is important, therefore, that entrepreneurs be familiar with all the details so they can respond to potential unanswered questions and critiques.
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