Business Planning 101
A business plan is a roadmap that shows where you want to go, and how you plan to get there.
Entrepreneurial Dynamics reports that writing a business plan significantly increases the chance that someone would go into business.
A Business Plan Helps Your Company Grow.
- It provides direction to help you understand your business and your market and to start a particular course of action for growth and expansion.
- It helps you allocate resources. If you have limited resources for cash, resources and time, a business plan will help you decide how to deploy your resources best.
- It enables you to raise capital. Having a plan of activities will assist the bank or others feel more comfortable about loaning you money and investing in your vision.
The Difference Between a Business Plan and Marketing Plan
- A business plan is a broad overview of your business operations, with information about your company, its finances, and long-term strategies.
- A marketing plan is an in-depth view of your position in the marketplace, your products and services, target customers, competitors, and tactics to convert prospects into buyers.
Business and marketing plans are similar and related, but they have different objectives.
The One-Page Business Plan
If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of developing a business plan, the one-page solution will help. It’s a one-page (or more) document that uses the business plan format. You should be able to write it within a few hours, and someone should be able to scan it to understand how you plan to grow your business. The format goes as follows:
- State the problem. This is a brief statement about the problem you’re trying to solve.
- Explain how you’ll address the problem. How will your product or service solve the problem?
- Explain how your business will profit by solving it. Show how resolve the problem with your product or service will make money for your business.
- Talk about your market. Who’s your ideal customer? How many of them are there? How do you plan to reach them?
- Talk about your value proposition. What’s your competitive advantage? What unique value can you deliver to your customers? (Later, you can turn this into your sales pitch.)
- Talk about your team. Who’s your partner, your management, on your staff? Also, include any organizations or people you outsource work to.
List your top action items for the next six months.
- What are your metrics for success? What measurements will you use to determine whether you’re hitting your goals.
- Financial summary. This could include simple sales and cash-flow forecast, and the point at which your business becomes profitable.
- Investor questions. Discuss how much money you need, how it will be used, and how investments will be repaid.
The #1 reason businesses fail is that they lack “runway.” They don’t have enough cash on hand to get them through the bumps of a startup phase.
The Complete Business Plan
A Complete Business Plan requires a lot of time and effort. It should be updated yearly and must track multiple metrics in sales, marketing, administration and finance.
What to consider and include in your Plan.
Do you need to complete a business plan?
Yes. Plus, you’ll need this to present to a bank if you’re looking for investment in your business.
What’s the audience for a plan?
- Just you?
- Management team?
- Future employees?
- Bank and Investors?
- Partners and Suppliers?
Keep them in mind when developing your plan.
What are the elements of a complete business plan?
- Executive Summary
- One important statement from each of the other sections of your plan
- Your business name, location, and other company information
- Your management team
- Your mission statement
- Company Description
- Vital details about your business (where you’re located, how large your business is, what you do, and what you hope to accomplish)
- Your vision and direction
- Potential lenders and partners
- Products or Services
- The products and services you’re selling, with an emphasis on the value they provide. Include pricing information, a comparison to other products/services in the market, and an outline of future offerings.
- Market Analysis
- A detailed overview of the industry you intend to sell your goods or services in, including specifics to support your claim. Include information about the industry, your target market and competition.
- Marketing Strategy
- Where your business fits into the market, and how you will price, promote and sell your products/services.
- Organization and People
- Detail the structure of your company, introduce who is involved, outline external resources, and discuss how your business is managed.
- Financial Analysis
- Include the details for financing your business now, what will be needed for future growth, and an estimate of your ongoing operating expenses.
- Supporting Data
- Include information that supports your statements, assumptions and reasoning in other sections of the business plan. You can use graphs, charts, tables, photos and marketing materials (etc.).
Note: Puryear can do a Complete Business Plan for your IT!
Business Planning Tools That Can Help.
For the Complete Business Plan.
These helpful sites give you the framework and simple examples for different industries and can be a big help for folks who struggle with writing.
At Puryear IT, we put your business needs first. Your IT just has to work, and we get that. We’re your IT Partner in Baton Rouge, offering a comprehensive range of services and expertise in many of the latest technologies. Your IT will just work, no excuses allowed! Contact us at: (225) 706-8414 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or a Business Plan for your IT.