Knowing how to portray your business on paper is a skill that every company owner should hone, after all a great business plan can really separate the business brains from a bad investment, and could mean the difference between securing the financial funding you need and walking away empty handed.
Whether you are looking to craft a business plan for financial development, to expand your core demographic or to get the capital you need to start a new business, here are a few pointers to keep you on the track to success…
Know Your Business
How well you really know your business can become heavily scrutinized when writing and presenting a business plan but the golden rule is knowing your company and your products or services inside out. Start your business plan prep by defining what your business is all about and make sure you can do so on paper. Make notes on what your business does or will do if you are looking for start-up capital, list in detail what products and services you provide, how your pricing structure works and how customers will purchase your products and services, i.e. online, in store or over the phone.
Know Your Customer
The next step is getting to know your customers or core demographic; knowing your customers can define your marketing strategy and even influence the way your brand looks and represents itself so be prepared to answer some tough questions on who will be buying from you! Analyze how old your target customer is, what they do for a living, their lifestyles, why they would buy from you in particular and how you will market your brand or business to them.
Whether you are a new or existing business, investors want to know that there is a market for your product or service, as a healthy number of interested consumers makes for a sounder investment.
Know Your Market
As well as getting to know your customers through a range of market research techniques, your business plan must also demonstrate your knowledge of competitors and the wider market that you wish to succeed in. In your business plan define why you are different and will be more successful than your competitors, highlight key similarities, differences and areas in which you will prosper to really make that leap as a market leader.
If you happen to have spotted a gap in the market with no or very limited competitors, this also warrants its fair share of analysis. Question why competitors may have failed to create a viable business in this market, maybe there’s not enough customers or demand? These are the questions that investors will probe further into if you are convinced your business is unique so be prepared to answer these in your plan and in person.
Know What to Include
When it comes to writing your business plan for a third party, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask what they look for, after all this varies based on the audience, their needs and the plan’s purpose. Introducing a well-researched, business minded plan is an important factor, and whether your plan is one page or a thousand pages long, demonstrating knowledge of your service or product, market, competitors and customers should make up a fair chunk of your plan.
As well as summarising your business and its market, every plan should also aim to capture the financial and operational progression and objectives of your business through a financial breakdown and forecast, you must also include how funding obtained will influence this progression and when you will break even. Use part of your plan to introduce the people behind the business, with a brief description of yourself and other management professionals that will lead the company. Some include resumes from management and personnel to show their expertise and employment history.
Know the Risks
Demonstrating the positives should be the focus of your business plan but good management means knowing your risks too. A section of your business plan should describe what could go wrong and more importantly, what plans you have in place to overcome the problems. Investors want to see that every possible avenue (both good and bad) has been explored and that you can put your business and their investment on the map with a detailed account and realistic objectives.
This article was written by Essay Help, as well as offering essay writing and essay editing help, they provide specialist guidance for those looking to progress in their education, career and in business.